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IInvolving Parents Can Improve Girls' Perceptions of Engineering Careers

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Engaging Families and Exciting Girls with Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count

12

Page Numbers

22.796.1 - 22.796.12

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/18077

Download Count

22

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Paper Authors

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Susan M. Caley Opsal Illinois Valley Community College

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Susan M. Caley Opsal, anatomy and physiology instructor at IVCC, is Co-Principal Investigator for NSF grant #0802505 and served as internal evaluator for NSF grant #0501885. She has extensive experience leading math, science and technology camps for middle school girls and is an experienced grant writer. In 2008, she received the Faculty Excellence Award from Illinois Valley Community College. She holds an M.S. and B.S. in biology from the University of Wisconsin.

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Dorene M. Perez Illinois Valley Community College

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DORENE PEREZ, program Director/Instructor of CAD/CAE at IVCC, is Principal Investigator for National Science Foundation grant #0802505, was PI for NSF grant #0501885, and served as a consultant on NSF grants at Moraine Valley and Sinclair Community Colleges. She served as co-leader of IVCC’s Tech Prep and Partnerships for College and Career Success teams. Prior to teaching, she served five years as a CAD manager in industry.

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James A. Gibson Illinois Valley Community College

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Jim Gibson, Program Director/Instructor of Electronics at IVCC, is Principal Investigator for NSF grant #1003730 , Co-PI for NSF grant #0802505 and was co-PI for NSF grant #0501885. He has extensive industrial experience. In 2005, he was named Outstanding Faculty by the National Association of Industrial Technology. He holds an M.S. and B.S. in Industrial Technology, minor in chemistry, from Illinois State University.

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Rose Marie Lynch Illinois Valley Community College

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Rose Marie Lynch, communications instructor at IVCC, is Co-Principal Investigator for NSF grant #0802505 and NSF grant #1003730 and was co-PI for NSF grant #0501885. She was co-leader of IVCC's Tech Prep team and co-director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Assessment. In 1999, she was named Illinois Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation. She holds a Ph.D. in English from Ball State University.

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Abstract

Involving Parents Can Improve Girls’ Perceptions of Engineering CareersMiddle school girls who participated in a recent engineering technology activity with a parentemerged with more positive attitudes about engineering than girls who worked without a parent.The activity, making a diode, was conducted by instructors at Illinois Valley Community Collegeas part of a National Science Foundation-supported project designed to increase interest inengineering technology careers. The students who participated were the sixth through eighthgrade girls enrolled in a rural junior high, which has a high percentage of low-income, low-education level families. The girls were randomly divided into two groups; parents were invitedto participate with one group. In order to accommodate parent schedules, two of the threeparent-participating sessions were scheduled in the evening; all other sessions were during theschool day. Half of the parents who were invited did participate.The diode activity began with a short introduction to the basics of diodes, their use, and relatedcareer opportunities. Diode making required the girls to use propane torches to melt metals onsilicon disks and voltage meters to check the diodes. Since one goal of the activity was toimprove the girls’ technical confidence, parents were allowed to assist their daughters, but fathers,especially, were encouraged to refrain from “taking over.”Pre and post surveys given to both groups of girls and to the participating parents showed morepositive attitudes toward STEM careers after the activity than before the activity. However, thegains after the activity were much higher in the girls who participated with a parent.Additionally, twice as many of the girls who participated with a parent said the activity increasedtheir technical confidence compared to the girls who worked without a parent.While this study was limited to one school and just under 100 girls, the results indicate thatparent involvement with STEM initiatives could be an effective recruitment tool for youngwomen.

Caley Opsal, S. M., & Perez, D. M., & Gibson, J. A., & Lynch, R. M. (2011, June), IInvolving Parents Can Improve Girls' Perceptions of Engineering Careers Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18077

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