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Environmental Sustainability and Electronics: High School Teacher Development Through Summer Research Experiences

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

A Focus on Sustainability

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

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Paper Authors


Inez Hua Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Inez Hua is Professor in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering and the Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering. Her research and teaching areas include sustainable electronics, industrial water consumption, aquatic chemistry, water pollution control, environmental sustainability in engineering education. Dr. Hua has a Ph.D and an MS in Environmental Engineering and Science from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and a BA in Biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Monica E. Cardella Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Monica E. Cardella is a Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University.

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The Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) Site on Sustainable Electronics, a collaboration between faculty at Purdue University and Tuskegee University, provided a summer research experience and professional development program to 27 high school science teachers in Indiana and Alabama. Each teacher worked on a unique research project that explored a dimension of sustainable electronics. Teachers also completed professional development activities, such as visits to electronics recycling facilities and advanced electronics manufacturing research sites, technical demonstrations, and interacted with representatives of electronics companies, through an Industrial Advisory Board. At the end of the program, teachers presented their technical results and plans for standards-based high school curricula. The curricula were integrated into existing class content for chemistry, physics, environmental science, and biology, among other science classes. An estimated 3000 high school students completed innovative curricula and activities developed by teachers who completed the RET Site program. Teachers also continued their own professional development after the summer, by co-authoring research publications with their faculty mentors or presenting results at conferences.

Individual teacher development was assessed by administering surveys, and conducting pre-program discussion and mid-program focus groups. Formative and summative evaluation results were considered each year, when planning for the following year’s activities. Data collection approaches the Design, Engineering and Technology Survey, the Teaching Engineering Self-Efficacy Survey, and open-ended questions specific to the RET Site. Key findings from the administration of the DET survey include: increases in teachers’ (i) self-reported familiarity with Design/Engineering/Technology, (ii) perceptions of their current and future use of Design/Engineering/Technology in their classrooms, (iii) self-reported knowledge of the National science standards related to Design/Engineering/Technology, and (iv) self-reported sense that they felt prepared to include Design/Engineering/Technology activities in their teaching. Other details and analysis related to assessment will be discussed in the paper

Hua, I., & Cardella, M. E. (2020, June), Environmental Sustainability and Electronics: High School Teacher Development Through Summer Research Experiences Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34582

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