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Discovering How to Get Engineering on the Radar of Community College Students

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Two-year College Division: Authors Address Transfer Matters-Part I

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.550.1 - 26.550.10



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Paper Authors


Mary R. Anderson-Rowland Arizona State University

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Mary Anderson-Rowland, Arizona State University
MARY R.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 an Academic Success and Professional Development program, with an emphasis on 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 President’s Award 2014, WEPAN’s 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 over 200 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 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 Electrical Engineering faculty in 1990, Dr. 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 over 200 technical papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings – over 60 with students. He has authored three engineering texts on classical controls, linear systems, and multivariable control. Dr. Rodriguez has given over 70 invited presentations - 13 plenary - at international and national forums, conferences and corporations. Since 1994, he has directed an extensive engineering mentoring-research academic success and professional development (ASAP) program that has served over 500 students. These efforts have been supported by NSF STEP, S-STEM, and CSEM grants as well as industry. Dr. Rodriguez' 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); design and control of micro-air vehicles (MAVs), control of bio-economic systems, renewable resources, and sustainable development; control of semiconductor, (hypersonic) aerospace, robotic, and low power electronic systems. Recently, he has worked closely with NASA researchers on the design of scramjet-powered hypersonic vehicles. Dr. Rodriguez’ honors include: 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; Ralf Yorque Memorial Best Paper Prize. Dr. 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, Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Autonomous Systems. Dr. Rodriguez received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1990. Personal Web site:

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Anita Grierson Arizona State University

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Ms. Grierson holds Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration. She has served as Director of the METS Center for Motivated Engineering Transfer Students at Arizona State University for five years.

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Discovering How to Get Engineering on the Radar of Community College StudentsAbstractIt is well-known that the US needs more engineers and computer scientists. It is also well-knownthat community colleges (CCs) are a largely unexploited resource for more engineers (this termshall include computer science in this paper). In addition, many female and underrepresentedminority students attend CCs. Many of them are first-generation and low-income studentswithout strong self confidence that they can succeed at a university, let alone succeed inengineering. It is also well-known, and we have shown in our studies, that many of thesestudents do not have engineering on their radar because they know nothing about engineering.Further, our research has shown that although students know little about engineering, they haveconcluded that it is boring and has nothing to do with their lives.As part of an NSF Step grant (#0856834), we make visits to rural CCs to try to get engineeringon the radar screen for CC students to consider as a possible career. We have found that a captiveaudience is the best way to do this, so we visit mathematics, science, and engineering classes toinform or encourage students to study engineering. At the same time we give them advice ontransferring to a university, no matter what their major.On a recent trip in Fall 2014 to a rural CC, we visited nine classrooms and talked with over 165students. In addition to basic demographic data, we asked the students for their opinions onengineering including their interest, their knowledge of engineering, and their myths aboutengineering. The survey was developed using grounded theory. This paper will show the resultsof the survey and, in particular, examine the results by type of class (level of mathematics),gender, and ethnicity. An emphasis in our work has been to encourage females andunderrepresented minority students to consider engineering. The CC we visited has a highHispanic population. By analyzing these results, we will be better able to focus futurepresentations to these populations of students.We will also compare our results with the research that has been done by others in this area,which will be discussed in a literature search included in the paper. We will also compare thesefindings with the results that we have obtained from visiting other rural CCs.

Anderson-Rowland, M. R., & Rodriguez, A. A., & Grierson, A. (2015, June), Discovering How to Get Engineering on the Radar of Community College Students Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23888

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