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Engineering Ambassador Network: Establishment of Successful Engineering Ambassador Programs at Four UTC Partner Schools

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Conference

2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society (LEES) Poster Session

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count

23

Page Numbers

23.496.1 - 23.496.23

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/19510

Download Count

29

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Paper Authors

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Christine Haas Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Christine Haas has worked for non-profits and higher education institutions for the past eight years. As the director of operations for Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Engineering, she managed operations and strategic initiatives for the newly formed Office of the Dean of Engineering. As director of Marketing for Drexel College of Engineering, she oversaw an extensive communication portfolio and branding for seven departments and programs. Haas currently consults with engineering and science related institutions to advise on best practices in communication, from presentations to print. Christine received her M.B.A. in Marketing and International Business from Drexel University and her B.A. in English and Film from Dickinson College.

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Lynn S. McElholm Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Sonya M Renfro University of Connecticut

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Ms. Renfro is a Program Coordinator for the Engineering Diversity Programs in the School of Engineering at UConn. She is the advisor for UConn Engineering Ambassadors, and also works with other UConn diversity programs such as BRIDGE, daVinci, and MYO.

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Elizabeth S. Herkenham Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Ms. Elizabeth Herkenham is the Education Outreach Director for the School of Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her responsibilities include managing and coordinating pre-college STEM-related educational outreach activities across the institute’s campus as well as remotely in K-12 classrooms. This includes managing the Engineering Ambassadors program consisting of approximately 30 undergraduate students. Ms. Herkenham is also the Pre-college Educational Outreach Director for NSF funded Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center (ERC) and CURENT ERC. Prior to the position at Rensselaer, Ms. Herkenham was the Co-founder & Executive Director of the Workforce Consortium for Emerging Technologies (Workforce Consortium), a 501 (c) 3 not-for profit organization. The Workforce Consortium’s mission was to bring awareness to the full spectrum of new high technology career opportunities in the upstate New York Region and the global marketplace. Ms. Herkenham is an elected School Board Member official of a NY public school district for thirteen years. Her involvement has provided the keen understanding and the experience to develop meaningful and relevant student and educator professional development programs and strategies.

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Melissa Marshall Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Michael Alley Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Michael Alley is an associate professor of engineering communication at Pennsylvania State University. He serves on the advisory board of the Engineering Ambassador Network. With Melissa Marshall and Christine Haas, he teaches advanced presentation skills to Engineering Ambassadors in workshops across the country.

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Abstract

EngineeringAmbassadorNetwork:DevelopmentofSuccessful EngineeringAmbassadorProgramsatFourUTCPartnerSchools Founded at Penn State in 2009, the Engineering Ambassador program was rolled out tothree additional schools in 2010 with support from United Technologies Corporation (UTC). Thefour Engineering Ambassador pilot schools include Penn State, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Connecticut. The expansion of successfulprograms at these four schools and close working relationships launched the idea for a NationalEngineering Ambassador Network. The original four partner schools have established programsembracing a common set of core objectives: (i) formal teaching of advanced communicationskills; (ii) communicating messages from Changing the Conversation1, (iii) performing outreachto middle and high school students, and (iv) being an academic based program rather than a club. Though these four programs have common core objectives, the programs differ fromschool to school according to institutional structures and other education outreach STEMprograms available on their respective campus or regional community. Each school hasleveraged their own core strengths to make their programs sustainable and successful. Theflexibility of the program allows the schools to work together to ensure the core objectives aremet, collaborate on training, share materials, and offer the Engineering Ambassadors valuablenetworking opportunities with other Ambassadors outside their own institutions. An importantpart of the program at each school is the opportunity for Engineering Ambassadors to receive asummer internship at United Technologies Corporation. The programs vary in size and structure. At the University of Connecticut, for example,the Engineering Ambassador program includes over 150 students who help in various outreachactivities, with a core group of 36 Ambassadors who specialize in presentations. Their training isdone over the course of a semester, and their outreach activities range from school visits andafter-school programs to large event days on campus. Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s programhas 18 students who meet weekly, but receive their main communications training over thecourse of a single week. Their outreach ranges from school visits to on-campus visitors andtours. This paper will provide a description of the pilot schools’ Engineering Ambassadorprograms, including information on the size of the programs, the different program structures,each programs synergy within their school, the training methods, program activities, outreachactivities and funding sources. The paper will outline the overall successes and challenges foreach institution in developing their programs. The paper will discuss the collaborative efforts ofUTC, and the company’s contribution to the academic-industry partnership. References1. National Academy of Engineering, Changing the Conversation: Messages for ImprovingPublic Understanding of Engineering (Washington, D.C.: NAE Press, 2008).  

Haas, C., & McElholm, L. S., & Renfro, S. M., & Herkenham, E. S., & Marshall, M., & Alley, M. (2013, June), Engineering Ambassador Network: Establishment of Successful Engineering Ambassador Programs at Four UTC Partner Schools Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19510

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