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Cultivating Geospatial Engineers in a Population Underrepresented in STEM Industries

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Computer Science and Information Technology in K-12 Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.406.1 - 22.406.12



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Paper Authors


Diana Papini Warren Maui Economic Development Board

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Diana Papini Warren is a Project Manager with the Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology Program. She develops and manages several statewide STEM education initiatives, including the GeoTech for Hawaii Schools initiative. She facilitates the professional development courses for teachers throughout Hawaii, supports events for students, and is the webcast facilitator for the state’s annual GIS Day celebration. She holds a Master of Science in Education and has fourteen years experience working as an educator, a curriculum developer, and a professional development specialist.

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Leslie Wilkins Maui Economic Development Board

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Leslie Wilkins has served as the Vice President of the Maui Economic Development Board since 1999. She was hired to design, launch and direct the Women in Technology Project with a mission to engage girls/women and under represented populations into the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) pipeline. In its tenth year, the program serves annually more than 14,000 students, educators and industry members throughout the state of Hawaii from elementary school to job placement.

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Cultivating Geospatial Engineers in a Population Underrepresented in STEM Industries The field of geospatial technology has exponentially grown and significantly impactedmultiple aspects of the engineering industry along with other industries in our societies. Inresponse to a rapidly growing workforce demand, GeoTech for Hawaii Schools was establishedin 2008 to support the integration of geospatial technologies into K12 education throughoutHawaii. We have focused on the cultivation of skills in the use of Geographic InformationSystems (GIS), Global Positioning System (GPS), and Remote Sensing. A founding goal of the initiative is to reach those populations underrepresented in STEMindustries. Hawaii public schools are reflective of the diversity of Hawaii’s population. Lessthan thirty-five percent of Hawaii’s population is white or Caucasian, while the majority consistsof Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders, Black, Hispanic or Latino, and mixed races. Ourinitiative reaches a cross-section of these students by way of our direct outreach to teachers fromall public schools statewide. Along with serving our diverse demographic, we provide allparticipating teachers with gender equity training to help them build equitable learningenvironments. In all events, we seek to build awareness of geospatial career pathways by highlightinglocal industry partners. We have brought in local professionals from the geospatial technologyindustry to interact directly with participants. Professors and PhD candidates from University ofHawaii at Manoa, consultants from geotechnical engineering firms, and planning professionalsfrom the county and private industry are a few examples of the guest presenters we have engagedthus far. This paper will discuss the specific outcomes of the teacher professional developmentevents of the GeoTech initiative. We have facilitated a total of fourteen training events foreducators over a two year period, engaging two hundred forty-five teachers from middle schoolsand high schools statewide. Potentially 34,625 students are being engaged in geospatial learningexperiences as a result. All programs incorporated comprehensive assessment methods,including pre and post skill assessments. The compilation and review of this data will be asignificant component of the paper.

Warren, D. P., & Wilkins, L. (2011, June), Cultivating Geospatial Engineers in a Population Underrepresented in STEM Industries Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17687

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