Asee peer logo

Evolution Of An Engineering Technology Outreach Program

Download Paper |


2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Diversity and K-12 Issues

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.584.1 - 13.584.10



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Joseph Fuehne Purdue University-Columbus

visit author page

Joe Fuehne received a BS degree in Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering from the University of Illinois, and MS and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University. Dr. Fuehne is also a licensed professional engineer in the states of Texas and Indiana. Prior to his position with the Purdue University College of Technology in Columbus, Indiana, Dr. Fuehne spent 14 years working in the aerospace, oil and automotive industries.

visit author page

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Evolution of an Engineering Technology Outreach Program


One element of Purdue University’s mission is to play a leadership role in strengthening Indiana's economy and improving the qualifications of the state's workforce. One element of the strategy to achieve this is to improve preparatory education through continuing engagement with PK-12 schools, with special emphasis on reading, writing, math, and science. Prior to 2004, the College of Technology in Columbus had little if any engagement with the local PK-12 schools.

In an effort to initiate engagement, professors from the Organizational Leadership and Supervision and Mechanical Engineering Technology departments organized, submitted and received a grant from a local community foundation to bring technology to elementary students using LEGO™ bricks, gears and pneumatic elements. That initial grant for over $6000 resulted in three separate days of workshops in three different schools. In each school workshops were conducted simultaneously for as many as three different classes of fifth and sixth grade students. Nearly all the faculty and most of the staff of the Purdue College of Technology in Columbus were involved in these workshops. Pre and post tests were given to attempt to determine how much learning had occurred. Thank-you notes received by the workshop organizers contained very positive comments from the participants.

After that first success, the author has received 9 more grants from organizations as diverse as community foundations, economic development boards, companies and neighborhood associations totaling nearly $40,000. With all the grants, the funds were used to purchase LEGO™ equipment, LEGO™ software and LEGO™ curriculum plans. In some cases, this equipment has been used to promote the Purdue College of Technology through elementary school science nights, summer camps and career fairs.

This paper will detail the strategy to obtain the grants and the specifics of how they were used. Additionally, the overall outreach strategy has led to the Purdue College of Technology in Columbus hosting a qualifying tournament of the First Lego League for the first time in 2006. The second tournament in 2007 saw a two-fold increase in the number of teams coming to Columbus, Indiana to compete. All of these efforts were aided by the evolution of the outreach programs initiated by the author.


Purdue University is a public, state-supported institution that, according to its mission exists to “serve the citizens of Indiana, the United States, and the world through discovery that expands the realm of knowledge, learning through dissemination and preservation of knowledge, and engagement through exchange of knowledge.”1 Subsequently, one of the corresponding goals to this mission is to “effectively address the needs of society through engagement”1 and one of the key strategies to attaining this goal is to

Fuehne, J. (2008, June), Evolution Of An Engineering Technology Outreach Program Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3326

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015