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Engineering Ambassador Network: Professional Development Programs with an Outreach Focus

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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

Communication, Professional Development, and the Engineering Ambassador Network

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

23.499.1 - 23.499.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/19513

Download Count

23

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Paper Authors

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Johanna Gretchen Hatzell Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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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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Karen A. Thole Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Dr. Karen A. Thole is the head of the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Pennsylvania State University. She holds two degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. After receiving her Ph.D., she spent two years as a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute for Thermal Turbomachinery at the University of Karslruhe in Germany. Her academic career began in 1994 when she became an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1999, she accepted a position in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Virginia Tech where she was promoted to Professor in 2003. She was appointed as the Department Head in July 2006 at Penn State.
Dr. Thole’s areas of expertise are heat transfer and fluid mechanics specializing in turbulent boundary layers, convective heat transfer, and high freestream turbulence effects. Dr. Thole has been responsible for attracting funding from such agencies at the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Air Force, United Technologies Corporation - Pratt & Whitney, Solar Turbines, Modine Manufacturing, and Siemens-Westinghouse. She has co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and has advised over 35 graduate theses.

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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. Christine currently consults with engineering and science related institutions to advise on best practices in communication, from presentations to print. Christine received her MBA in marketing and international business from Drexel University and her B.A. in English and Film from Dickinson College.

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Renata S. Engel P.E. Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Dr. Renata Engel is Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Engineering at Penn State and has been a member of the Penn State faculty since 1990. Dr. Engel’s research couples her interest in design and manufacturing with advanced materials, with a focus on computational modeling. She has also been involved in the scholarship of teaching and learning primarily to infuse design into the curriculum. For her contributions, she has received several individual and collaborative teaching awards, and is a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education. She has held several leadership positions in ASEE including those in the Middle Atlantic Section, and Mechanics Division. She has served on ASEE’s Board of Directors, and was ASEE President in 2010-2011.

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Joanna K. Garner Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia

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Abstract

Engineering Ambassador Network: Professional Development Programs with an Outreach Focus To solve today’s engineering challenges in energy, environment, health, andsociety, we need a wide range of solutions, which can be realized by having a diversegroup of engineers who have strong technical backgrounds. Workforce studies haveindicated that the number of those being educated in the STEM (science, technology,engineering, and math) fields cannot meet the market demands, which may cause evenmore work to be placed offshore in the future.1 Even worse, our ranks in engineering arenot diverse, and we are losing access to talented resources to help fill the workforcedemands. The American Society of Engineering Education reports that only 17.8 percentof engineering bachelor’s degrees were awarded to women in 2009, which is the lowest ithas been since 1995.2 Moreover, only 4.6 percent of engineering bachelor’s degrees in2009 went to African-Americans and only 6.6 percent went to Hispanics. Theengineering disciplines having the lowest percentages of women receiving bachelordegrees are electrical, computer engineering, and mechanical engineering with numbersall below 12 percent. As indicated through a survey given to numerous mechanical engineers workingin industry, there is a compelling need for engineers with strong communication skills.3While most mechanical engineering programs include communication in the curriculum,the range of audiences and the types of communication taught are both limited and oftendo not include public speaking. This weakness further exacerbates a lack of publicunderstanding, particularly by high school guidance counselors and teachers, on thecareer opportunities and the impacts of engineering. The Engineering Ambassador Network consists of Engineering AmbassadorPrograms at 21 engineering colleges across the United States. Each program can bethought of as a professional development program for undergraduate students, but withan outreach mission to middle and high schools. The aims of these EngineeringAmbassador Programs are to increase the diversity of those seeking engineering degreesand to strengthen the communication and leadership skills of those currently seekingengineering degrees. To increase the diversity, the Programs emphasize placing the rightmessenger (college engineering students with advanced communication skills) with theright message in front of middle and high school classes. The messages used, such asengineering contributes to the health, happiness, and safety of our everyday lives, arethose promoted by the National Academy of Engineering in their book Changing theConversation.4 This paper presents an overview of the Network, first giving the motivation for itscreation. Following that is a description of what distinguishes an EngineeringAmbassador program. That description is followed by a brief history the Network,beginning with its origin in 2009 at Penn State, through its expansion to three schools(Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the University of Connecticut, and WorcesterPolytechnic Institute) in the Northeast, and up to its expansion to 21 schools at the FirstNational Conference in August 2012.References1. Carnevale, A.P. and S.J. Rose (2011). The Undereducated American. Available at http://www9.georgetown.edu/grad/gppi/hpi/cew/pdfs/undereducatedamerican.pdf. Accessed October 1, 2011.2. American Society of Engineering Education (2009). Available at http://www.asee.org/papers-and-publications/publications/college-profiles/2009- profile-engineering-statistics.pdf. Accessed October 1, 2011.3. ASME (2010). Vision 2030 survey given to ASME members working in industry.4. National Academy of Engineering, Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering (Washington, D.C.: NAE Press, 2008).

Hatzell, J. G., & Marshall, M., & Alley, M., & Thole, K. A., & Haas, C., & Engel, R. S., & Garner, J. K. (2013, June), Engineering Ambassador Network: Professional Development Programs with an Outreach Focus Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19513

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