Asee peer logo

Design, Code, Build, Test: Development of an Experiential Learning Summer Engineering and Computer Science Outreach Program for High School Students (Evaluation)

Download Paper |


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Pre-college: Summer Experiences for Students and Teachers (1)

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Sharnnia Artis University of California, Irvine

visit author page

Dr. Sharnnia Artis is the Assistant Dean of Access and Inclusion for the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. She is responsible for programs at the pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate levels to facilitate the recruitment, retention, and overall success of students from traditionally underrepresented groups in engineering and information and computer sciences. Dr. Artis has 18 years of experience working with education and outreach programs in engineering and over 35 publications in STEM education and outreach. Prior to joining UC Irvine, she was the Education and Outreach Director for the Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Previously, Dr. Artis spent nine years at Virginia Tech providing program and student support for the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity and has four years of industry and government experience as a Human Factors Engineer. Dr. Artis holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech.

visit author page


Gregory N. Washington University of California, Irvine

visit author page

Gregory Washington is Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Stacey Nicolas Dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California Irvine. Professor Washington has been involved in multidomain research for the last 20 years. He is the first African-American Dean of Engineering at any of the University of California, Campuses. His core area of interest lies in the area of dynamic systems: modeling and control. During this time he has been involved in the following applications: the design and control of mechanically actuated antennas, advanced control of machine tools, the design and control of Hybrid Electric Vehicles, and structural position and vibration control with smart materials. He has written more than 150 technical publications in journals, edited volumes, and conference proceedings and is internationally known for his research on ultra-lightweight structurally active antenna systems and other structures that involve the use of “smart materials”. Professor Washington has served on several advisory boards to include the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and the National Science Foundation Engineering Advisory Board. He currently serves on the Pubic Policy Committee of the ASEE Engineering Deans Council. Professor Washington received his BS, MS and PhD degrees from NC State.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) “pipeline” that is imagined to guide students from middle school into successful STEM careers implies a single path. This path often requires students to develop an interest in STEM by middle school, choose particular math and science courses in middle- and high-school, and gain experience and exposure in STEM activities through their high school tenure. While successful for approximately 7% of students who entered 9th grade in 2001, this system has filtered out 93% of the population, including many students who might have had interest and potential to pursue STEM careers. Importantly, this pernicious systemic problem impacts students of color (African American, Hispanic American, American Indian and Alaska Native students) disproportionately. To address this challenge, Access Summer Program to Inspire Recruit and Enrich (ASPIRE) was designed to broaden the participation of students of color and students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds by inspiring and preparing them to pursue degrees in engineering and computing.

ASPIRE is a two-week residential summer outreach program with emphasis on the engineering and technology components of STEM to prepare high-school students with 21st century skills of critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. The program provides students with the confidence needed to enter the dynamic workforce of the future, which requires understanding of basic structure, materials and electrical design and computing. This program is guided by project-based learning, an experiential learning pedagogy that focuses on excitement, engagement, applying the scientific method and engineering process, and making a presentation to demonstrate mastery of these principles. ASPIRE introduces students to the fields of computer science and engineering. Students participate in hands-on group projects centered on the Internet-of-Things. The experiential learning experience provides students exposure to computer programming/coding, computer aided design, laser cutting, and 3D printing. Through ASPIRE, students are able to engage with their peers, form networks, and gain a sense of community. In the past two summers, 41 students have participated in the program. This paper provides details on the design and evaluation of the ASPIRE program.

Artis, S., & Washington, G. N. (2017, June), Design, Code, Build, Test: Development of an Experiential Learning Summer Engineering and Computer Science Outreach Program for High School Students (Evaluation) Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28122

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015