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Determining the Community College Audience

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Retention and Two-year to Four-year Transfer

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.413.1 - 25.413.12



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Paper Authors


Mary R. Anderson-Rowland Arizona State University

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Mary Anderson-Rowland is the PI of an NSF STEP grant to work with five
non-metropolitan community colleges to produce more engineers, especially female and underrepresented minority engineers. She also directs two academic scholarship programs, including one for transfer students. An Associate Professor in computing, informatics, and systems design engineering, she was the Associate Dean of Student Affairs in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU from 1993-2004. Anderson-Rowland was named a top 5% teacher in the Fulton Schools of Engineering for 2009-2010. She received the WEPAN Engineering Educator Award 2009, ASEE Minorities Award 2006, the SHPE Educator of the Year 2005, and the National Engineering Award in 2003, the highest honor given by AAES. In 2002, she was named the Distinguished Engineering Educator by the Society of Women Engineers. She has more than 175 publications primarily in the areas of recruitment and retention of women and underrepresented minority engineering and computer science students. Her awards are based on her mentoring of students, especially transfer, women, and underrepresented minority students, and her research in the areas of recruitment and retention. A SWE and ASEE Fellow, she is a frequent speaker on career opportunities and diversity in engineering.

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Armando A. Rodriguez Arizona State University

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Prior to joining the ASU faculty in 1990, Armando A. Rodriguez worked at MIT, IBM, AT&T Bell Laboratories, and Raytheon Missile Systems. He has also consulted for Eglin Air Force Base, Boeing Defense and Space Systems, Honeywell, and NASA. He has published more than 200 technical papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings. He has authored three engineering texts. Rodriguez has given more than 70 invited presentations, 13 plenary, at international and national forums, conferences, and corporations. Since 1994, he has directed an extensive engineering mentoring-research program that has served more than 300 students. Rodriguez's research interests include control of nonlinear distributed parameter and sampled-data systems; modeling, simulation, animation, and real-time control (MoSART) of Flexible Autonomous Machines operating in an uncertain Environment (FAME); control of bio-economic systems, renewable resources, and sustainable development; and control of semiconductor, (hypersonic) aerospace, robotic, and low power electronic systems. Rodriguez has received the following honors AT&T Bell Laboratories Fellowship; Boeing A.D. Welliver Fellowship; ASU Engineering Teaching Excellence Award; IEEE International Outstanding Advisor Award; White House Presidential Excellence Award for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring; and the Ralf Yorque Memorial Best Paper Prize. Rodriguez has also served on various national technical committees and panels. He is currently serving on the following National Academies panels: Survivability and Lethality Analysis and Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Autonomous Systems. Personal website:

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Anita Grierson Arizona State University

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Anita Grierson has been the Director of the METS Center in the Ira A. Fulton School of
Engineering at ASU since 2008. Grierson has more than 10 years corporate experience in program management, business development, and biomechanical engineering, with products as diverse
as air bag systems for helicopters, body armor, and orthopedic implants. She received her bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1990, her master's degree in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University in 1994, and a master's in business administration from Arizona State University in 2000.

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Determining the Message to a Community College Audience AbstractWith the continued need for more engineers and computer scientists in the United States, effortsto educate and to encourage more students to consider engineering are increasing at thecommunity college (CC) level. Many CC students are undecided in their career choice andengineering is not on their radar screen. In order for CC students to be aware of engineering andcomputer science as careers, someone needs to talk to them. Since many CCs were establishedbecause there is no easy access to a university for those who live in that community, these non-metropolitan (rural) CCs may have students who have no contact with engineers and littleknowledge of engineering, let alone have any engineering role models.Therefore a question that needs to be answered is this: “How can a university best do outreach toa non-metropolitan CC?” In our experience, having a captive audience in the classroom is thebest way to reach CC students with information about engineering. In this way, their attention isfocused on engineering for at least a few minutes. The next question that begs itself is: “What isthe most effective engineering message for rural CC students?” That question needs thefollowing one answered: “Who is the audience at the rural CC?”This paper describes the results of a short questionnaire given to over 100 students one day at anon-metropolitan CC. The questionnaire was given at the end of a 20-60 minutes presentation ina classroom. Three different speakers were used in mathematics classes that ranged fromtrigonometry and pre-calculus to calculus III, a chemistry class, and an Intro to Engineeringclass. We note the gender, ethnicity, year in school, and mathematics class enrollment. We askthe students about their plans to get an Associate’s degree, a Bachelor’s degree, and a degree inengineering or computer science. We also inquire as to their intended school to which theywould transfer and their intended major. We also ask how supportive their family is for them toobtain a bachelor’s degree and what could prevent them from obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Wealso asked the students the check which topics (from a list) they would like to know more aboutand if there were topics not listed that they would like to know more about. Finally we askedthem to leave their name and email address if they wanted follow up. The students were alsoinvited to meet with the speakers after class for more information.This paper summarizes our findings. First, it was of interest to us to note for which topics thestudents felt they needed more information. We then note the information by gender, ethnicity,year in school, and mathematics class. As would be expected, few in the low level mathematicscourses were interested in engineering, while almost all of the students in Calculus III intendedto be engineers, while a few of these students were pursuing physics or mathematics. Studentswho intend to be doctors were surprised to learn that Biomedical Engineering was an excellentundergraduate degree for them in preparation for medical school and also gave them otheroptions in addition to medical school. The time spent at a table between classes and at the end ofthe day proved to be useful for some students who had not heard the class presentations and forsome students who had questions after the class presentation. One surprising result was that atleast two students had been accepted into a Technology school thought that they had beenaccepted into engineering because the major was listed as (Major) Engineering Technology.Suggestions are given for using these results to advantage when designing the engineeringoutreach message according to the audience.

Anderson-Rowland, M. R., & Rodriguez, A. A., & Grierson, A. (2012, June), Determining the Community College Audience Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21171

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