New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Minorities in Engineering
The continued emergence of STEM careers and emphasis on engineering in the Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) spurs the need for early (P-12) engineering education. There are persistent deficits in engineering education, for underrepresented minority groups and in lower-resource schools. To address these deficits, we have created the HYPOTHEkids (Hk) Maker Lab, a six week summer program (120+ hours) in which high school students, specifically those from underrepresented minority groups and economically disadvantaged New York City high schools, are introduced to the biomedical engineering design process. Biomedical engineering design is an appealing mode of instruction because it entails the practical application of science, mathematics and technology knowledge that students have accrued throughout their education, giving them a real-world appreciation for these skills and fostering continued interest in STEM. The Hk Maker Lab, which is free for all participants, engages students who would not normally have an engineering-focused pre-college experience.
During the first three weeks of the program, students are taught design through a series of interactive workshops. Students learn needs identification; customer discovery and design inputs; brainstorming to devise solutions; and proof of concept testing. They are also introduced to the entrepreneurial aspects of device innovation, including the formation of business models. The workshops are complemented by daily, hands-on laboratory sessions that introduce biomedical concepts and basic engineering skills, including instrumentation design and testing, programming (MATLAB and Arduino), and fabrication techniques (laser cutting, 3-D printing). The second half of the program is devoted to the participants creating testable prototypes that satisfy the needs uncovered during the design workshops. The Hk Maker Lab culminates in students presenting their innovations at a final pitch event, where the projects are evaluated by a panel of judges from academia, industry, and entrepreneurial sectors.
The Hk Maker Lab has been conducted in the summers of 2014 and 2015, with 24 participants in each group. We have achieved significant underrepresented minority participation: 52% of the students have been Hispanic or African American, 50% have been female. Hk Maker Lab participants have successfully developed prototypes ranging from a re-chargeable LED array hospital light to provide illumination in low resource hospitals, to a fall detection and alarm device for the elderly, to a device to sterilize used hypodermic needles to prevent secondary infections from needle-sticks. The program has had a positive impact on students’ interest in engineering. More than 90% of our students attribute their interest in pursuing engineering in college to their participation in the Hk Maker Lab. Program alumni have gone on to internships in biotechnology and/or are currently pursuing engineering undergraduate majors.
We propose that biomedical engineering design provides critical pre-college engineering education for groups underrepresented in STEM. This paper provides a framework for the creation of an engineering design-focused program. Through the Hk Maker Lab, we have devised a biodesign curriculum that can be readily taught to high school students and best practices for implementing this type of program.
Kyle, A., & Sattler, R. L., & Zhao, H. T., & Kovich, C. (2016, June), HYPOTHEkids Maker Lab: A Summer Program in Engineering Design for High School Students Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25511
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