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Engaging Underrepresented Middle School Students in Engineering and Science through a Two-day Summer Camp

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Attracting Young Minds: Part II

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count

19

Page Numbers

22.574.1 - 22.574.19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/17855

Download Count

32

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Paper Authors

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Jessica Alvarenga California State University, Los Angeles

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Mark Vincent Abbott California State University, Los Angeles

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Alexander Abramyan

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Jianyu Dong California State University, Los Angeles

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Oleg Gontar

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Huiping Guo California State University, Los Angeles

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Eun-Young Kang California State University, Los Angeles

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Associate Professor
Computer Science
California State University, Los Angeles

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Victor Mejia

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Phanit Pollavith California State University, Los Angeles

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Ricardo Sanchez

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Jose Antonio Zamalloa

biography

Nancy Warter-Perez California State University, Los Angeles

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Nancy Warter-Perez is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at California State University, Los Angeles and the Director of the IMPACT LA NSF GK-12 Program.

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Abstract

Engaging Underrepresented Middle School Students in Engineering and Science through a Two-day Summer CampMiddle school kids from XXX become scientists and engineers in the two-day XXX ProgramSummer Camp. The goals of the camp are to encourage more underrepresented minorities toenter STEM professions and to help teach graduate students how to communicate science andengineering to a broader audience. The XXX program partners graduate STEM fellows withmath and science middle and high school teachers in XXX for one year to bring engagingengineering and science research-related activities into the classroom. The summer camp is theculmination of the graduate fellow training before the fellows enter the classroom. .The engineering and science summer camp is designed by graduate fellows and professors atXXX. The two-day camp includes fellow-led science and engineering activities, engineeringdesign challenges, and fun engineering/science demonstrations. Each fellow is responsible forplanning and conducting an activity designed to show kids that science and engineering involvecreativity, ingenuity, and teamwork. Students become mechanical engineers designing andbuilding catapults and sweet rides from straws and lifesavers, structural engineers doing strengthtesting on popsicle towers, and electrical engineers learning about alternative power sourcesthrough building simple DC motors and wind turbines. Students also explore science throughfun hands-on activities such as extracting DNA from a strawberry, conducting CSI experimentswith ink chromatography, and learning about the properties of gas molecules to prevent shakensodas from exploding. Engineering design challenges, including the Mars Rover Egg Drop andthe Cardboard Boat Race, enhance the students’ communication and team work skills, engagetheir creative minds to develop innovative designs, and encourage them to apply critical thinkingto explore engineering trade-offs. Fellows also help bridge the gap between kids and science andengineering through fun demonstrations such as Smokin’ Hot Cheetos, CSI fingerprintinganalysis, Alka-Seltzer rockets, and watching super cooled water turn into ice as it’s poured.This paper presents the overall organization of the summer camp and how it is designed to meetthe objectives of engaging underrepresented minority students in science and engineering and intraining fellows to improve their STEM communication skills. The XXX Program works withstudents from XXX middle and high schools with 98% Latino populations using minoritygraduate fellow role models who are 63% Latino and 31% women. The summer camp drawsstudents from these neighboring schools as well as from outreach through MESA, Great Mindsin STEM, and the campus community. The response from students and parents alike wasfantastic. Kids repeatedly asked why it was only a two day camp and were clamoring to comeback next year. Preliminary assessment data collected from the students, fellows, andparticipating teachers is presented to show the impact of the summer camp on students’ attitudestowards STEM and on the effectiveness of preparing fellows for the classroom.

Alvarenga, J., & Abbott, M. V., & Abramyan, A., & Dong, J., & Gontar, O., & Guo, H., & Kang, E., & Mejia, V., & Pollavith, P., & Sanchez, R., & Zamalloa, J. A., & Warter-Perez, N. (2011, June), Engaging Underrepresented Middle School Students in Engineering and Science through a Two-day Summer Camp Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17855

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