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Effective Strategies for Generating Awareness and Interest in Science and Engineering among Underrepresented Youth

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Attracting, Developing and Retaining Talented ME Students

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.456.1 - 24.456.14

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Paper Authors


Marius D Ellingsen South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

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Marius D. Ellingsen is a tenure-track assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering, Solid Mechanics group, at the South Dakota School of Mines, 501 E. Saint Joseph St., Rapid City, SD, 57701.

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Cassandra M Degen South Dakota School of Mines and Technology


Mark David Bedillion South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Mark Bedillion joined the Mechanical Engineering Department at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in January 2011 as an Associate Professor. Dr. Bedillion received the B.S. degree in 1998, the M.S. in 2001, and the Ph.D. degree in 2005, all from the Mechanical Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to joining SDSM&T, Dr. Bedillion had an eight year career in the hard disk drive industry working on advanced data storage concepts. Dr. Bedillion’s research interests include distributed manipulation systems, robotics, control for data storage systems, control for advanced manufacturing systems, and STEM education.

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Karim Heinz Muci-Kuchler South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

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Karim Muci-Küchler is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Co-Director of the Experimental and Computational Mechanics Laboratory at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSM&T). Before joining SDSM&T, he was an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Detroit Mercy. He received his Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics from Iowa State University in 1992. His main interest areas include Computational Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, and Product Design and Development. He has taught several different courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, has over 50 publications, is co-author of one book, and has done consulting for industry in Mexico and the US. He can be reached at

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Effective Strategies for Generating Awareness and Interest in Science and Engineering among Underrepresented YouthNative Americans are seriously underrepresented in science and engineering. To addressthis concern, the authors have created a flexible two-component workshop that usessubmarines as a vessel to introduce basic science and engineering concepts.Submarines must resist considerable pressures, resist corrosion, be able to move in threedimensions while mostly navigating blindly, and be able to support life for months at a time.Science and engineering basics that are needed to address those concerns are introduced andexplained in the workshop, such as pressure and strength, controls, environment, and productdevelopment.One component of the workshop is lectures that incorporate electronic slides and short movies,where each short movie demonstrates a concept. For example, one movie shows how inflatedballoons shrink when submerged, due to the water pressure increasing at depth. Another movieshows animations of how submarines are able to move in three dimensions under water.The other component of the workshop is hands-on activities. The hands-on activities start withletting participants control a remote-controlled submarine in a swimming pool. Next, theparticipants assemble tethered remotely-operated submersibles according to a fixed design frompre-made kits. Finally, a design challenge with a scored competition at the end is issued, whereparticipants receive a large collection of parts to build their own design of tethered remote-operated submersible. The competition consists of several timed navigation challenges, such astraversing a pool while submerged the entire time, then traversing back while surfaced the entiretime.The workshop has been given to Native American middle- and high school students five times intwo states, and is about to be given to incarcerated youth at a local juvenile detention center.Written surveys are given before and after the workshops, and the results consistently show alarge increase in the participants’ interest in pursuing careers in science and engineering.

Ellingsen, M. D., & Degen, C. M., & Bedillion, M. D., & Muci-Kuchler, K. H. (2014, June), Effective Strategies for Generating Awareness and Interest in Science and Engineering among Underrepresented Youth Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana.

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