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Engineering Ambassadors Network (EAN): Goals, Successes, and Challenges in Growing the EAN

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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

Research on Diversification, Inclusion, and Empathy I

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

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Paper Authors


Christine Haas Engineering Ambassadors Network

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Christine Haas brings ten years of experience working in marketing and communications with a focus on the science and engineering fields. She’s held positions as the director of marketing for Drexel’s College of Engineering and director of operations for Worcester Polytechnic Institute - Engineering.

Now, as CEO of Christine Haas Consulting, LLC, Christine travels around the world teaching courses to scientists and engineers on presentations and technical writing. She has taught clients across government, industry and higher education, including Texas Instruments, Brookhaven National Laboratory, European Southern Observatory (Chile), Simula Research Laboratory (Norway) and the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. Christine works closely with Penn State University faculty Michael Alley (The Craft of Scientific Presentations and The Craft of Scientific Writing) and Melissa Marshall (TED, “Talk Nerdy to Me”) on these courses.

Christine is also the director of the Engineering Ambassadors Network, a start-up organization at 25 plus universities worldwide that teaches presentation skills to undergraduate engineering students, particularly women and underrepresented groups in engineering. These Engineering Ambassadors develop valuable leadership and communication skills, which they apply through engineering outreach to middle and high school students.

Christine received her MBA in marketing and international business from Drexel University and her BA in English and film from Dickinson College.

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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 is the author of The Craft of Scientific Presentations (Springer-Verlag, 2013) and founder of the website Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science (, which receives more than 1 million page downloads each year.

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Joanna K. Garner Old Dominion University

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Dr. Garner is a Research Associate Professor in The Center for Educational Partnerships at Old Dominion University, VA.

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The engineering field is facing a crisis. In order to solve today’s engineering challenges, we need a diverse workforce with strong technical and leadership skills. Unfortunately, workforce studies have shown that the number of students being educated in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) cannot meet projected demands [1]. In addition, current enrollments in engineering are not diverse, with incremental movement in the number of women, blacks, Hispanics and Asians enrolling in engineering from 2001 - 2011 [2]. Finally, studies have shown that better leadership and communication skills are needed among the current engineering workforce [3].

The Engineering Ambassadors Network addresses the problem by training and empowering a diverse group of undergraduate engineering students to share their passion for engineering through outreach to middle and high school students. In short, the EAN places the right messengers (undergraduate engineering students) with the right message (messages about engineering from Changing the Conversation [4]) in front of a diverse set of middle and high school students. This model simultaneously aims to grow a strong, diverse engineering pipeline through quality outreach that resonates with younger generations, while also enhancing the leadership and communication skills of the Engineering Ambassadors.

This paper describes the goals of the Engineering Ambassadors Network, as well as the, successes and challenges encountered from growing the once four-university collaboration. After a successful collaboration between Penn State University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Connecticut, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the Engineering Ambassadors Network expanded to more than 20 universities in August 2012. Engineering Ambassadors programs now exist at more than 30 universities, and these programs collaborate and leverage resources under a grant from the National Science Foundation. This paper will lay the framework for additional papers with case studies of specific Engineering Ambassadors programs, the impact the training has on the Engineering Ambassadors themselves, and best practices learned in teaching advanced communication strategies.


1. Carnevale, A.P. and S.J. Rose (2011). The Undereducated American. Available at 2. National Science Foundation, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering (Arlington, VA, NSF 13-304, 2014). 3. ASME, “Vision 2030―Creating the Future of Mechanical Engineering Education,” American Society of Mechanical Engineers (New York: ASME, 2010). 4. National Academy of Engineering, Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering (Washington, D.C.: NAE Press, 2008).

Haas, C., & Alley, M., & Garner, J. K. (2016, June), Engineering Ambassadors Network (EAN): Goals, Successes, and Challenges in Growing the EAN Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27298

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