Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day
January 24, 2021
January 24, 2021
January 28, 2021
Diversity and CoNECD Paper Submissions
Diversifying the STEM pipeline is a national imperative. It is central for enhancing the likelihood of innovation, as diverse teams can incorporate a variety of perspectives when solving problems. Moreover, diversifying the field promotes social justice by broaden access to a STEM workforce that is high-paying with strong job security relative to other fields. One way to diversify the pipeline is to expand the potential for recruiting underrepresented students by capturing their interests in STEM at a young age through extra-curricular programming focused on children of color, such as the Summer Engineering Experiences for Kids (SEEK) program. Organized by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), SEEK is a three-week summer program that engages participants in grades 3-5 in daily hands-on, team-based engineering design projects led by collegiate mentor and teachers. Since its inception in 2007, over 20,000 students have participated in SEEK.
Based on the early success of this program, NSF funded a multi-partner project understand how the experience influences students and may be replicated in other contexts. Two objectives guide the research aspect of this project:
1. Evaluate SEEK’s success at influencing STEM-related academic and career identity, conceptual knowledge, and interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. 2. Generate evidence and a greater understanding of organizational contextual factors that operate to enhance, moderate, or constrain SEEK’s impact from site to site.
This project applies the logic of an input-environment-outcome framework to organize data collection and analysis. In addition to considering relationships between students’ background characteristics and experiences within SEEK with their post-camp outcomes, the framework emphasizes the influence of organizational contexts on shaping students’ learning experiences. We considered three major components of organizational context in comparing sites: 1) Local structures, policies, and practices – e.g., the influence of the host school, supporting local industry partnerships, access to resources; 2) SEEK programs, structures and policies – e.g., NSBE-provided curricula, site development procedures, participant selection policies, and 3) Mentor/Teachers’ Culture – e.g., beliefs about engineering education, training programs.
This particular paper focuses on how students’ perceptions of engineers shift after participating in SEEK. We capture data through assessments that were administered to all students participating in SEEK. Students were prompted to draw themselves as an engineer or to draw an engineer—the prompts varied across sites. Our analysis will address the following research questions:
1. What messages about engineering are conveyed through artifacts that are prominent in SEEK classrooms?
2. How do students’ drawings shift from the pre-camp administration to the post-camp administration?
3. How do students’ drawings vary based on the different prompts (i.e., draw an engineer versus draw yourself as an engineer)?
We conduct this analysis of student drawings and posters that appear inside SEEK classrooms using Critical Race Theory as a lens. We will sample 60 students’ pre- and post-test drawings from four of the 14 SEEK sites. The sample will be stratified by grade level (3rd, 4th, and 5th) as well as the type of prompt for the drawings (i.e., 1) draw yourself as an engineer, or 2) draw an engineer, which varied by site). Through this analysis, we will seek to understand how conceptualizations of engineers link to SEEK practices and the images presented on the posters within the classroom. The goal is to interrogate the ways race surfaces in the messages that are displayed to students and images conveyed by students about who and what engineering entails.
Lightner, T., & Cardella, M. E., & Huggins, N., & Hampton, C., & Lee, W. C., & Knight, D. B. (2021, January), Draw an Engineer: A Critical Examination of Efforts to Shift How Elementary-Aged Students Perceive Engineers Paper presented at 2021 CoNECD, Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day . https://peer.asee.org/36080
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