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Engineering Ambassadors: Bridging the Gap between Engineering and Education Undergraduates and Middle and High Schools Students (Evaluation)

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division: Professional Development for Students and Teachers

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Zahra Shahbazi Manhattan College

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Zhahra Shahbazi is as an assistant professor of Mechanical engineering at Manhattan College. She earned a B.S. degree from the University of Tehran (mechanical engineering), M.S. from Amir Kabir University of Techonology (biomedical engineering) and a Ph.D. degrees from the University of Conecticut (mechanical engineering). She also received a certificate in college instruction from the University of Connecticut. Her current research involves modeling and simulation of protein molecules as nano bio robots with applications in new drug design. The other aspect of her research is engineering education.

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Alexandra Emma Lehnes Manhattan College

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Alexandra Lehnes is a senior at Manhattan College majoring mechanical engineering and minoring in mathematics. In the past she has done biomechanical research on aortic aneurysms and worked for an energy distribution company as a project engineering intern. Currently she is the president of the engineering ambassadors club and assisting with an National Science Foundation grant to increase engineering awareness using the engineering ambassadors, offering a minor in engineering educations, and encouraging teachers to build an engineering lecture to present to their students. She is an active member of Tau Beta Pi, Pi Tau Sigma, Pi Mu Epsilon, Epsilon Sigma Pi, ASME, SWE, ASHRAE, and ASEE.

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Mary Ann Jacobs Manhattan College

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Mary Ann Jacobs, scc is an assistant professor in the School of Education. She prepares secondary teacher candidates in all content areas through her courses in secondary pedagogy. Her areas of interest include STEM education, brain compatible strategies, and action research in the classroom.

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Kathleen Christal Mancuso Manhattan College

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Kathleen Mancuso is a Secondary Education Major with a concentration in Chemistry at Manhattan College located in Riverdale, NY. As a senior, Kathleen will be graduating in February 2017 with a teaching certification for grades 5-12 in New York State and a B.S. in Education and Chemistry. Her passion for teaching began in her high school chemistry class with Mrs. Merante, after seeing just how valuable a talented and determined teacher was to future STEM fields. Kathleen enjoys teaching tennis over the summer to students ages 8-16 and is looking forward to her graduation to begin her career.

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In this paper we are introducing an extracurricular club called “Engineering Ambassadors” to address three main challenges in college level and middle/high schools simultaneously. We aim to: 1) improve engineering students’ presentation skills; 2) inform and encourage current middle and high school students about engineering while changing the stereotypes about engineering; 3) encourage future math and science teachers (current education students) to include engineering topics in math and science lessons. The Engineering Ambassadors’ Club is comprised of undergraduate students studying either engineering or education majors. The ambassadors receive professional training on group work, presentation skills, learning skills and preparing lesson plans. Ambassadors from engineering and education schools, collaborate and build workshops consisting of a brief presentation on what engineering is, what industries engineers contribute to, and an engineering topic followed by a hands-on activity to reinforce the engineering topic discussed. During this process engineering and education faculty supervise the ambassadors. These workshops are then presented to high school and middle school students. By seeing the diversity of the engineering ambassadors, the high school and middle school students no longer see an engineer as a white male; by listening to the beginning of the presentation they learn what engineers do, and by learning about an engineering topic they realize that engineering can be fun and understandable.

Implementing this program for three consecutive years has shown that the public-speaking and presentation skills of the engineering ambassadors improved from practices to the final school presentation and for those who have been an ambassador for multiple semesters they continue to improve semester to semester. The education students developed a unique insight into how they could put an engineering twist or influence in their math or science classes. To get an analysis of the high school and middle school student’s reactions at the end of the presentations and activities the high school students were given anonymous surveys to complete. The surveys asked questions about their new interpretation of engineering, their experience, and their desire to pursue engineering. Based on these results it was evident that the students had fun, learned about engineering and now have a better understanding of engineering. Both internal and external evaluations continue to show the positive impact the program has on the college, middle school, and high school students.

Shahbazi, Z., & Lehnes, A. E., & Jacobs, M. A., & Mancuso, K. C. (2016, June), Engineering Ambassadors: Bridging the Gap between Engineering and Education Undergraduates and Middle and High Schools Students (Evaluation) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26613

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