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If We Build It, Will They Come? Attracting And Retaining Underrepresented Groups In Engineering

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Retention of Minority Students

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.650.1 - 8.650.14

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Paper Authors

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Claire Lynne McCullough

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

Session 2370

If We Build It, Will They Come? Attracting, and Retaining, Under-Represented Groups in Engineering

Dr. Claire McCullough College of Engineering and Computer Science, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 615 McCallie Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37403

Abstract As the demand for engineers and other technically trained professionals grows in our increasingly technological society, the problem of attracting and retaining members of under- represented groups to these fields is becoming increasingly more critical. To address this issue, many universities, schools, and organizations have put in place programs to encourage under- represented groups to pursue technical careers. This paper will present a sampling of the many different programs and approaches being directed toward this goal, concentrating on those currently being funded through the National Science Foundation's education-related programs, including such programs as "Gender Equity" and "Bridges to Engineering Education." While these programs address many areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, this paper will concentrate on exemplars of programs which are successfully addressing under-representation of such groups as women, the economically disadvantaged, Native Americans, African Americans, and Hispanics, in these fields. Programs which will be examined include school-based programs at all age levels from elementary school through graduate study; teacher education programs; informal education programs, including summer programs, after-school programs, and museum-based programs; software and website development; and conference and publication related activities. A special discussion will be given to three of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's relevant programs: • Adventures in Computers, Engineering, and Space (ACES), to encourage middle school girls to consider careers in these fields, and to continue their education in science and mathematics;

• Upward Bound Promoting Resolve In Science and Math (PRISM), a program funded by the U.S. Department of Education to help students from low income families develop both interest and potential in these fields; and

• Bridges to Engineering Science: Teaching Teachers (BESTT), a new grant to develop a program to widen the pipeline to engineering by inserting appropriate engineering science- related content into K-12. Each of the programs discussed can serve as a model for other communities concerned with under-representation of women, ethnic groups, and socioeconomic sectors in technical careers. Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, Copyright 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

McCullough, C. L. (2003, June), If We Build It, Will They Come? Attracting And Retaining Underrepresented Groups In Engineering Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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: © 2003 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