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Examining Reflections of Current Engineering Students on Educational Outreach

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Educational Research and Methods (ERM) Poster Session

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.557.1 - 23.557.8



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Paper Authors


Diana Bairaktarova Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Diana Bairaktarova is a Doctoral Candidate in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She holds BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Technical University, Sofia, Bulgaria and an MBA degree from Hamline School of Business, St. Paul, Minnesota. Diana has over a decade of experience working as a Design Engineer. Her research is focused on human learning and engineering, i.e. understanding how individual differences and aptitudes affect interaction with mechanical objects in engineering education instruction, and how engineering students’ personality traits influence ethical decision making process in engineering design.

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Mary K. Pilotte Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Pilotte has over 20 years of industrial experience and a PhD in Engineering Education. Research interests include uncovering generation-based engineering knowledge transfer, engineering epistemology, engineering entrepreneurship and understanding the differentiated culture of engineering.

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Demetra Evangelou Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Prof. Evangelou is credited with introducing the concept of developmental engineering, a new area of research and education for which she was awarded by President Obama the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2011.
Her award citation read “for outstanding research into how early experiences can lead children to pursue engineering later in life and for working with teachers from diverse schools to develop new teaching materials and methods that can help students become innovative and more technologically literate.”
The PECASE is “the highest honor bestowed by the US Government on Science and Engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research career.”
Dr Evangelou’s research group is actively involved in research into early childhood antecedents of engineering thinking, developmental factors in engineering pedagogy, technological literacy and human-artefact interactions. She is a member of Sigma Xi Science Honor Society. In 2009 she was awarded the prestigious NSF CAREER Award.
Dr. Evangelou has broad international experience in early childhood education working with teachers in Greece, Cyprus, Poland and the US. She is currently serving as a consultant at the Greek Educational Research Center (KEE) in Athens, Greece and the Comenius Foundation for the Education of Young Children in Warsaw, Poland. Dr. Evangelou is also a member of the European Board of the Society for the Development and Creative Occupation of Children (SEDCE) and a member of the editorial board of Early Childhood Research and Practice.
To learn more about Dr. Evangelou’s current research and research group activities, follow the link to her Developmental Engineering Research Lab at .....
Currently Dr. Evangelou has five PhD students in her research group. She is also the mother of four wonderful children.

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Monica Farmer Cox Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Monica F. Cox, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering
Education at Purdue University and is the Inaugural Director of the Engineering Leadership Minor. She obtained a B.S. in mathematics from Spelman College, a M.S. in industrial engineering from the University of Alabama, and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy Studies from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Teaching interests relate to the professional development of graduate engineering students and to leadership, policy, and change in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. Primary research projects explore the preparation of engineering doctoral students for careers in academia and industry and the development of engineering education assessment tools. She is a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career (CAREER) award winner and is a recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

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The Perspective of Current Engineering Students on Pre-Engineering Outreach Activities There are many examples of engineering outreach activities designed to educate studentsabout the wide variety of jobs available with an engineering degree, demonstrate the accessibilityof engineering knowledge and encourage those who might be reluctant to take another look atengineering. Early outreach also allows students to start thinking about the possibility ofengineering far enough in advance to make sure they take the requisite high school courses toenter an engineering program. The most effective way to assess the success of such outreach programs is to follow theparticipating students and determine whether they successfully entered engineering programs.Longitudinal studies of this nature are however difficult to carry out because outreach programsdo not typically have the resources necessary to keep track of students. An alternative way toachieve the same objective is to consider the pre-engineering experiences of currently enrolledstudents. An examination of experiences that encouraged them to pursue engineering todetermine how and why they led to successful enrollment provides an indicator of whatcomponents could be the most effective if included in an outreach program. This study was conducted to explore the experiences of engineering students that helpthem learn about engineering, with the hope that understanding which experiences made themost impact may improve the planning of outreach activities. 974 students in their first year ofengineering were asked to describe the experiences and interactions that had the most influencewhen they were contemplating an engineering career. Findings indicate that pre-engineeringknowledge and experience, and therefore the reasons that students go into engineering, varygreatly. This paper will report students’ reasons for choosing engineering and discuss theimplications of these findings for outreach activities.

Bairaktarova, D., & Pilotte, M. K., & Evangelou, D., & Cox, M. F. (2013, June), Examining Reflections of Current Engineering Students on Educational Outreach Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19571

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