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Engineering Ambassador Program Connects High School Students with University Students and Career Engineers in their Communities

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Community Engagement in Engineering Education Projects

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.611.1 - 26.611.14



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Paper Authors


Howard L. Greene Ohio State University

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Howard L. Greene directs K-12 Education Outreach for the College of Engineering at The Ohio State University, bringing university research and teaching intersections to the K-12 community, especially those underserved and/or underrepresented. Prior to Ohio State, Dr. Greene worked for 12 years in medical device development and later in STEM education and outreach at Battelle in Columbus, Ohio. Prior to Battelle, Dr. Greene was a professor of Electronics Engineering Technology at DeVry University in Columbus. Dr. Greene received the Ph.D. and M.S. degrees from The Ohio State University in Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, respectively.

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Paul E. Post Ohio State University

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Ph.D. in Industrial Technology, Purdue University
M.S. in Industrial Education, Purdue University
B.S. in Industrial Arts Education, Pennsylvania State University

OSU faculty member since 1984
Currently in the STEM education program

2013 International Technology and Engineering Educators Association Conference Co-Chair

A Past-President of the Ohio Technology and Engineering Educators Association

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Lisa Abrams Ohio State University

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Lisa Abrams is currently serving as the Interim Director of Diversity and Outreach for the College of Engineering at The Ohio State University. She oversees the women in Engineering and Minority Engineering programs promoting a culture of diversity in the College through recruitment, retention, and advancement of underrepresented groups at all levels. Lisa received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering and PhD degree in Industrial Engineering from Ohio State. She has seven years of industry experience in the areas of Design and Consulting. She was previously the Director of Women in Engineering Program at Ohio State and the Assistant Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Miami University. She mostly recently held the position of Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Ohio State where she taught a wide variety of engineering courses in First Year Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. In the last several years, she has received four teaching awards including the 2013 Boyer Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Engineering Innovation and the Charles E. MacQuigg Award for Outstanding Teaching.

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Engineering Ambassador Program Connects High School Students with University Students and Career Engineers in their Communities (research to practice)An ambassador program has been developed to efficiently and effectively connect undergraduateengineering students and university alumni in engineering careers to high school students across thestate for the purpose of generating better engineering career awareness, preparing students for studyand encouraging them to consider engineering careers. Further, the program helps currentundergraduate engineering students improve their communication skills while reinforcing theimportance of career ambassadorship.In general, high school educators, guidance counselors and administrators do not feel well-equippedto offer accurate or complete portrayals of what engineers do, either during the course of study for aBachelor’s degree or on the job. One factor that contributes to this inability is that teacher licensureprograms do not require learning about engineering careers or the engineering process. Theambassador program is designed to put high school students in an informal environment together withuniversity engineering students who are alumni from that high school and engineering careerprofessionals from their community to give an authentic picture of the profession.The program is designed as follows. In June, high schools across the state that are well-representedin engineering at the university are given an invitation to take part in the ambassador program. Inresponse, the school supplies the name of a liaison to the ambassador team. Then, at the beginningof the academic year, high achieving junior and senior undergraduate engineering students arerecruited to come to a once-per-year training event at which they form ambassador teams based upontheir hometown high schools. At the event they: • Choose a team leader • Are given the name of the liaison at their hometown high school • Receive a list of engineering alumni of the university who are working in vicinity of their high schools and have indicated an interest in serving on their ambassador team to offer perspectives on authentic engineering careers. After the training event, the team leader convenes the team, contacts the alumni and the high schoolliaison and assumes the entire responsibility of planning and coordinating the school visit.The program leverages two elements: • College students’ loyalty to their high schools and engineering professionals’ loyalty to their communities. Each has the desire to re-connect with the next generation of college students, helping those who are struggling with the same questions they had. • Massive amounts of readily available university student and alumni data coupled with the ability to instantly send “customized” email invitations to large numbers of students and alumni who meet certain criteria with low time investment.In its second year, the program has over 200 student ambassadors and 140 engineering alumnischeduled for visits to 37 schools across the state. First year feedback indicated that undergraduateengineering students enjoyed the experience and felt they were effective in generating a genuineinterest in engineering. Preliminary feedback from Year 2 visits will be gathered and summarizedfrom school liaisons, university students and engineering professionals.

Greene, H. L., & Post, P. E., & Abrams, L. (2015, June), Engineering Ambassador Program Connects High School Students with University Students and Career Engineers in their Communities Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23949

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