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Impact of Engineering Design-Focused Summer Academy Experience on Interest Toward STEM Learning and Careers (Evaluation, Diversity)

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Bridge Programs Connecting to First-Year Engineering

Tagged Divisions

First-Year Programs and Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Kuldeep S. Rawat Elizabeth City State University

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KULDEEP S. RAWAT is currently the Dean of Life, Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Technology and Director of Aviation Science program at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU). He has earned an M.S. in Computer Science, 2001, an M.S. in Computer Engineering, 2003; and, a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering, 2005, from the Center for Advanced Computer Studies (CACS) at University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He serves as the Site Director for NASA MUREP Aerospace Academy program at ECSU. His areas of interests include embedded systems design, cloud instrumentation, remote computing applications, UAS applications research, mobile robotics, and innovative uses of educational technologies. Dr. Rawat may be reached at

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Robin Renee Mangham Elizabeth City State University

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ROBIN R. MANGHAM is currently a lecturer in the Aviation Science Program at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU). She earned a Master of Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in 2012. Areas of interest include education technology, human factors in aviation, and unmanned aircraft applications research. Ms. Mangham may be reached at

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Orestes Devino Gooden Elizabeth City State University

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CDR. Orestes D. Gooden, retired US Navy Officer (Aviator) is an Assistant Professor at Elizabeth City State University. He has earned a B.S. in Geology from Virginia State University and M.A.S. in Aviation Operations from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. His areas of interests include: Human Factors in Aviation, Accident Investigation & Safety, Corporate Aviation Operations, and Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). His passion for aviation education is noted as he is continuingly serving, educating and mentoring the next generation of aviators and aerospace industry students. He is certified by the FAA and qualified in both fixed wing, rotary wing and UAS aircraft.

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Elton L. Stone Elizabeth City State University

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Elton L. Stone is currently a lecturer in the Aviation Science Program at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU). He earned a Master of Space Studies from American Military University in 2015. Areas of interest include aircraft design, aerodynamics, orbital mechanics, human factors in aviation, remote sensing and unmanned aircraft applications research. Mr. Stone may be reached at

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New academic standards at the state and national level call for integrating engineering design into the K-12 science curriculum. This is accomplished by raising engineering design to the same level as scientific inquiry. As a result, engineering design experience is gradually becoming a vital component of K-12 education, especially at high school level. The process of initiating and completing an engineering design project requires students to engage both in analytical reasoning, active creation, and testing of solutions. One must ensure that engineering design projects are engaging for all students, particularly those from demographics that are underserved, underperforming, or underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Well-crafted engineering design projects can increase students’ interest in STEM and their self-efficacy in solving engineering problems.

The K-12 Aerospace Academy program site at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU), funded through NASA and private foundations, is focused towards promoting STEM literacy, pre¬pare and encourage students, especially underserved and underrepresented populations within the region, to pursue science and engineering careers. As part of this program, eighty-one (81) high school students participated in a week-long residential summer academy, engaging them in thirty-six (36) hours of an engineering design project activity that culminated into a highly exuberant competition.

The goals of the engineering design activities were to (i) improve students’ competence in science and engineering, (ii) nurture students’ enthusiasm for science and engineering, and (iii) create student interest in research or other science and engineering-related careers. Throughout the week, students working in teams of 3-4, implemented the engineering design method as they worked towards building the most efficient wind turbine in the group. Student teams conducted experiments to investigate impact of blade pitch angle, blade shape, blade configuration, and blade area on wind turbine’s power output.

Prior to working on the engineering design project, the students participated in a field trip to a large-scale wind farm owned by Amazon, located close to ECSU campus. This trip helped students see how the topics they are learning are relevant in the real world. Learner-centered experiences in a real-world context greatly increases students’ engagement, enthusiasm, and achievement. Later, in the classroom students reviewed animations, videos, and other learning material on wind energy and wind turbine information available on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) website. This was followed by a brainstorming session and technical discussion on wind turbines. Daily log entries of project activities and student reflections were recorded in an engineering notebook.

Project evaluation data was gathered through Student Feedback Survey, Dimensions of Success (DoS) Observation tool, student interviews, and pre/post topic efficacy survey. The data collected was cross-tabulated to look for the difference in interest before and after the project activities. Where appropriate, inferential statistics (t-test) was used to see if mean differences were significant. The results showed engineering design activities had a positive impact on attitude towards STEM learning and careers. Integration of engineering design principles, project-based learning, and project implementation and evaluation results will be discussed in the paper.

Rawat, K. S., & Mangham, R. R., & Gooden, O. D., & Stone, E. L. (2019, June), Impact of Engineering Design-Focused Summer Academy Experience on Interest Toward STEM Learning and Careers (Evaluation, Diversity) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32929

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