New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
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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