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Engagement in Practice: Lessons Learned Partnering with Science Educators and Local Engineers in Rural Schools

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engagement in Practice: Engaging the Community through Educational Outreach

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30387

Download Count

33

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Paper Authors

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Holly Larson Lesko Department of Engineering Education, Virginia Tech

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Jacob R. Grohs Virginia Tech

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Jacob Grohs is an Assistant Professor in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech with Affiliate Faculty status in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics and the Learning Sciences and Technologies at Virginia Tech. He holds degrees in Engineering Mechanics (BS, MS) and in Educational Psychology (MAEd, PhD).

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Holly M. Matusovich Virginia Tech

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Dr. Matusovich is an Associate Professor in Virginia Tech’s Department of Engineering Education. She has her doctorate in Engineering Education and her strengths include qualitative and mixed methods research study design and implementation. She is/was PI/Co-PI on 10 funded research projects including a CAREER grant. She has won several Virginia Tech awards including a Dean’s Award for Outstanding New Faculty. Her research expertise includes using motivation and related frameworks to study student engagement in learning, recruitment and retention in engineering programs and careers, faculty teaching practices and intersections of motivation and learning strategies.

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Gary R. Kirk School of Public & International Affairs, Virginia Tech

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Cheryl Carrico P.E. Virginia Tech

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Cheryl Carrico is a research faculty member for Virginia Tech. Her current research focus relates to STEM career pathways (K-12 through early career) and conceptual understanding of core engineering principles. Dr. Carrico owns a research and consulting company specializing in research evaluations and industry consulting. Dr. Carrico received her B.S. in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech, Masters of Engineering from North Carolina State University, MBA from King University, and PhD in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. Dr. Carrico is a certified project management professional (PMP) and licensed professional engineer (P.E.).

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Veronica van Montfrans

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Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech.

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Andrew L. Gillen Virginia Tech

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Andrew Gillen is a doctoral student and graduate research assistant in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. Andrew received his B.S. in Civil Engineering with an environmental engineering concentration from Northeastern University.

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Tawni Paradise Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Education

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Sarah Anne Blackowski Virginia Tech

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Sarah is a PhD student in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She has a bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and, during that time, spent a summer at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering for an REU in engineering education. Sarah's research interests include: motivation, student and faculty metacognition, and engineering faculty self-regulated learning.

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Liesl M Baum Virginia Tech

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Dr. Liesl Baum is the Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. She is a former middle school teacher and spent seven years teaching in Virginia public schools. Her research interests and goals are to develop a frame of mind that allows for creativity to develop among students and faculty of all levels. She works with university faculty to identify and build teaching strategies that encourage creativity for learning. Her research and work interests remain across the full realm of education and preparing educators to design and develop teaching and learning opportunities that encourage students to take risks, inquire across multiple disciplines, and participate in grand challenges. Liesl received her B.S. in Middle Education and M.S. in Educational Technology, both from Radford University. She received her doctorate in instructional design and technology from Virginia Tech.

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Abstract

Our NSF-funded ITEST project focuses on the collaborative design, implementation, and study of recurrent hands-on engineering activities with middle school youth in three rural communities in or near Appalachia. To achieve this aim, our team of faculty and graduate students partner with school educators and industry experts embedded in students’ local communities to collectively develop curriculum to aim at teacher-identified science standard and facilitate regular in-class interventions throughout the academic year. Leveraging local expertise is especially critical in this project because family pressures, cultural milieu, and preference for local, stable jobs play considerable roles in how Appalachian youth choose possible careers.

Our partner communities have voluntarily opted to participate with us in a shared implementation-research program and as our project unfolds we are responsive to community-identified needs and preferences while maintaining the research program’s integrity. Our primary focus has been working to incorporate hands-on activities into science classrooms aimed at state science standards in recognition of the demands placed on teachers to align classroom time with state standards and associated standardized achievement tests. Our focus on serving diverse communities while being attentive to relevant research such as the preference for local, stable jobs attention to cultural relevance led us to reach out to advanced manufacturing facilities based in the target communities in order to enhance the connection students and teachers feel to local engineers. Each manufacturer has committed to designating several employees (engineers) to co-facilitate interventions six times each academic year.

Launching our project has involved coordination across stakeholder groups to understand distinct values, goals, strengths and needs. In the first academic year, we are working with 9 different 6th grade science teachers across 7 schools in 3 counties. Co-facilitating in the classroom are representatives from our project team, graduate student volunteers from across the college of engineering, and volunteering engineers from our three industry partners. Developing this multi-stakeholder partnership has involved discussions and approvals across both school systems (e.g., superintendents, STEM coordinators, teachers) and our industry partners (e.g., managers, HR staff, volunteering engineers).

The aim of this engagement-in-practice paper is to explore our lessons learned in navigating the day-to-day challenges of (1) developing and facilitating curriculum at the intersection of science standards, hands-on activities, cultural relevancy, and engineering thinking, (2) collaborating with volunteers from our industry partners and within our own college of engineering in order to deliver content in every science class of our 9 6th grade teachers one full school day/month, and (3) adapting to emergent needs that arise due to school and division differences (e.g., logistics of scheduling and curriculum pacing), community differences across our three counties (e.g., available resources in schools), and partner constraints.

Lesko, H. L., & Grohs, J. R., & Matusovich, H. M., & Kirk, G. R., & Carrico, C., & van Montfrans, V., & Gillen, A. L., & Paradise, T., & Blackowski, S. A., & Baum, L. M. (2018, June), Engagement in Practice: Lessons Learned Partnering with Science Educators and Local Engineers in Rural Schools Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30387

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