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Development and Assessment of a Summer Program to Introduce High School Students to STEM Through Aviation and Transportation Engineering

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Pre-college Engineering Education Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Jalil Kianfar P.E. Saint Louis University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Jalil Kianfar is an assistant professor of civil engineering at Saint Louis University and a registered professional engineer (P.E.) in the state of Missouri. In addition to his academic experience, he has five years of industry experience as a traffic engineer that informs his teaching, research and service. Dr. Kianfar research interests and background includes traffic operations and roadway safety, construction zones and work zone traffic control, and smart cities and connected and autonomous vehicles. Dr. Kianfar also has an interest in engineering education research including blended learning environments, active and collaborative learning, and STEM outreach.

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Stephen M. Belt Saint Louis University

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Stephen M. Belt is an assistant professor in the Aviation Science Department at Saint Louis University.
He is a certified flight instructor and commercial
pilot. He received a PhD in higher educational
administration in 2012 from Saint Louis University.

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This paper describes the curriculum developed for a summer outreach program that used the transportation system as a vehicle to introduce high school students to STEM. The curriculum included modules to introduce participants to the topics of aviation and air transportation, infrastructure design and traffic engineering, inland waterways, transit, and rail transportation. The relationship between safety, design, and operations was elaborated on in each module, and the multimodal nature of the transportation system was emphasized. The curriculum included subject-based learning, experiential learning, and out-of-classroom experience. First, students were provided with background and basic knowledge about each mode of transportation through lectures. A lecture was followed with a hands-on laboratory or a computer-based activity to allow students to apply the basic principles of transportation engineering to solve a problem related to each mode of transportation. Finally, field trips were arranged to help students connect the theory and hands-on activities to real-world engineering and aviation applications. Likert scale questionnaire was utilized to inquire about participants’ opinions about STEM and assess the effectiveness of the program in introducing students to STEM. The paper reflects on opportunities and challenges in developing and implementing the curriculum and provides suggestions for future improvements.

Kianfar, J., & Belt, S. M. (2020, June), Development and Assessment of a Summer Program to Introduce High School Students to STEM Through Aviation and Transportation Engineering Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34439

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