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Engineering A Future At Tennessee Tech University

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

K-12 Programs for Women

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.535.1 - 10.535.11



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Paper Authors

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Karen Ramsey-Idem

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Sally Pardue

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Kristine Craven

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Engineering A Future at Tennessee Technological University

Kristine K. Craven, Ph.D., Sally Pardue, Ph.D., Karen Ramsey-Idem, Ph.D. Tennessee Technological University/ Fleetguard, Inc.


Engineering A Future (EAF) is an outreach program for girls in the 5th through 8th grade held at Tennessee Technological University (TTU) on the Saturday of Engineer’s Week. This program started in 2003 with an enrollment of 73 girls and was repeated in 2004 with 137 girls in attendance, the projected number of participants for 2005 is between 300 and 320. The girls come to the TTU campus for the day and experience a number of group and individual activities. The basic format for the program includes icebreaker activities at the beginning, followed by team activities with a break for lunch, and closing with awards and feedback. There have been several modifications made to the program, mostly in response to the feedback received. A unique aspect of the Engineering A Future program is the pairing of engineering with education. This occurs in several ways. First, engineers from local industry and engineering faculty from TTU work with faculty in the College of Education at TTU to develop the activities that are used in the program. A second cooperation is formed with the student volunteers who work with the participant teams. Finally, a concurrent program, dealing mainly with education issues, is run for the parents and/or guardians of the girls, teachers, guidance counselors, and school administrators. This introduces the adults to the engineering career, the benefits of a career in technology-related fields, and the requirements a K - 12 student must complete prior to being accepted into a typical university engineering program. This program has been a success and there are plans to expand it into a day camp format and/or a residence camp in the future.


Why is it that female students do not see engineering as a worthy profession? In many cases, girls are discouraged from pursuing science and/or engineering either outright or through the words and actions of those who have the greatest impact on their choices early in school. Those who do choose engineering usually have a strong role model, often a family member. One goal of the “Engineering A Future” (EAF) program is to provide that strong role model for those who do not have one already among their family and friends.1

Many of the obstacles that lie in the path of young women seeking a career in science and/or engineering include individuals of influence (teachers, counselors, and school administrators) who lack understanding of the field of engineering in general and specifically to the career opportunities that engineering offers; societal stereotypes that engineering is primarily for males and that females are incapable of succeeding in engineering; and in many cases a lack of financial and / or family support. All of these obstacles can be overcome with help and while some of them are simply not true, it is crucial to communicate clearly how to navigate such

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Ramsey-Idem, K., & Pardue, S., & Craven, K. (2005, June), Engineering A Future At Tennessee Tech University Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14994

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