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Femineer® Program: A Model for Engaging K-12 Girls in STEM

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Kristina Rigden California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Kristina Rigden is the Director of Outreach Programs and the Women in Engineering Program for the College of Engineering at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona). In her position, she provides several different outreach programming events to engage K-12 female students to pursue STEM majors and/or careers. Dr. Rigden holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies from Cal Poly Pomona, a TESOL certificate, a M.A. in Teaching with a multiple-subject credential and an Ed.D. from the University of Southern California.

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Mariappan Jawaharlal California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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Dr. Mariappan “Jawa” Jawaharlal, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, has more than 20 years of academic, industrial and entrepreneurial experience in engineering and is renowned for his innovative, engaging teaching pedagogy. He received the California State University System’s highest honor, the Wang Family Excellence Outstanding Faculty Award, as well as the Provost’s Award, the Northrop Grumman Award for Excellence in Teaching, and a Fellowship in the Biomimicry Institute. At Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ, he was one of the first faculty members recruited to develop a new engineering program with a $100 million donation.

Dr. Jawa is founder and director of Robotics Education through Active Learning (REAL), a K-12 outreach robotics program that educates thousands each year and culminates in the Annual Robot Rally, the nation’s largest robotics event. He also co-founded the Femineers (Female Engineers), which the White House recognized for its empowerment of young women to become engineers.

Since founding an online education company in 1998, Dr. Jawa has developed hundreds of interactive, engrossing learning modules, online tutorials, and CSU course redesigns focusing on bottleneck courses. He has brought many new engineering and robotic products to market from mere concept stages. He also writes columns for The Huffington Post and Medium on various K-12 and higher education topics. A marathon runner and scuba diver, he has completed 25 marathons and has run across the Grand Canyon from rim to rim to rim.

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Nicole Gutzke Cal Poly Pomona

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Ms. Nicole Gutzke is the Outreach Liaison with Cal Poly Pomona College of Engineering (CoE). As the Outreach Liaison, she is heavily involved in growing Cal Poly Pomona’s PLTW Summer Core Training Institute into a seven-week event that introduces hundreds of K-12 educators to the latest in STEM-related curriculum. As the Outreach Liaison, Nicole helps to recruit, retain, and graduate hundreds of female engineers each year through outreach events. Nicole also provides support for the CPP CoE Femineers™, a program that was recognized by the White House in 2015.

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The Gold Coast (pseudonym) College of Engineering Femineer® Program is a unique and innovative program devoted to inspiring and empowering K-12 female students to pursue STEM majors and careers. Created in 2013, the program enhances the College of Engineering’s commitment to support underserved populations by recruiting and graduating increased numbers of historically underrepresented students. The Femineer® Program currently consists of three years of curriculum: Creative Robotics, Wearable Technology, and Pi Robotics. This mixed method research to practice study determined if the Wearable Technology curriculum addressed 21st century learning skills and factors in STEM confidence in the Femineer® students. The preliminary results from this study showed that Femineer® students developed critical thinking and programming skills while learning in a single gender environment.

Rigden, K., & Jawaharlal, M., & Gutzke, N. (2019, June), Femineer® Program: A Model for Engaging K-12 Girls in STEM Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32837

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