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Impact of Innovative Student Project for the Increased Recruitment of Engineering and Science Students (InSPIRESS)

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Linking K-12 to Post-secondary

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.716.1 - 25.716.10



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Paper Authors


Monica Letrece Dillihunt University of Alabama, Huntsville Orcid 16x16

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Monica L. Dillihunt, Ph.D. is a graduate of Howard University, where she received her degree in educational psychology and a sub-specialty in educational leadership and administration in 2003. She also received her B.S. in psychology from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, and a M.Ed in education from Mercer University in Atlanta. Dillihunt has broad areas of research interests that include culture, multiple intelligences, differentiating instruction, learning and socialization processes, student motivation, and minority student achievement. Dillihunt has published work that focuses on measuring the degree of alignment between home and school cultures of minority student populations and understanding its link to academic motivation and performance. She is well versed in pre-referral academic testing and evaluation. Dillihunt’s professional memberships include American Educational Research Association (AERA), Association of Black Psychologist (ABPsi), National Association of Multicultural Education (NAME), American Society of Engineer Education (ASEE) Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), and National Association of Black School Educators (NABSE).

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Derrick Wayne Smith University of Alabama, Huntsville

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Derrick Smith is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. He research agenda focuses on STEM education and evaluation of STEM programs.

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Phillip A. Farrington University of Alabama, Huntsville

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Phillip A. Farrington is a professor of industrial and systems engineering and engineering management at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in industrial engineering from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and a Ph.D. in industrial engineering and Management from Oklahoma State University. He has been on the faculty at UA, Huntsville, since 1991. His research interests include systems engineering, transportation modeling, process analysis, and engineering education. He is a member of ASEE, ASQ, and IIE. He is a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Management.

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Impact of Innovative Student Project for the Increased Recruitment of Engineering and Science Students (InSPIRESS) The Innovative Student Project for the Recruitment of Engineering and Science Students(InSPIRESS) is focused on helping high school students better understand engineering byengaging them in an exciting project which illustrates the application of their math and sciencecourses while teaching them the basics of engineering design. The InSPIRESS project providesthe participants with a realistic engineering design project that simulates the NASA payloaddevelopment process. These payloads are to be integrated into the spacecraft being developed bythe senior engineering students in the Integrated Product Team (IPT) project. During the courseof the semester, two of the IPT instructors meet with the high schools students on a weekly basisto help them formulate their science question, review the design process, and provide guidanceon the development of their payload design. The engineering senior design teams work withmultiple high school teams and are responsible for choosing one of the high school sciencepayloads for inclusion on their spacecraft. This requires the college and high school teams tocommunicate regarding the science payload designs to determine how they would integrate intothe spacecraft being designed by the college students. Participants in the InSPIRESS project are freshman through senior level students from eightarea high schools. The students either participated in an engineering academy connected withscience and mathematics courses at their local high school or they were in a physics class at arural high school that did not yet have an engineering academy. There are a total of 176 highschool participants with a significant percentage of females (i.e., greater than 20%). The research study outlined in this paper is focused on conducting evaluations andassessments to determine the true impact of the InSPIRESS project on student attitudes towardsmath, science, and engineering as well as student engagement. This research study is currentlygathering data to answer the following questions: A. Does the project have a significant impact on students’ attitudes, motivation, and self-efficacy towards STEM content areas, including engineering? B. Does the project have a significant impact on the students’ understanding of the engineering discipline (in particular as it relates to aerospace engineering)? In order to answer the research questions an array of data was collected using fiveinstruments: 1) A demographic survey was developed to gather basic demographic informationabout the participants in the study; 2) The Engineering Attitude Survey is used to measureattitudes and experiences associated with engineering as a profession; 3) The Mathematics andScience Attitude Inventory measures student attitudes toward mathematics and science; 4) ThePatterns of Adaptive Learning Scales is used to examine the relationship between the learningenvironment and students’ motivation, affect, and behavior; and 5) The Engagement Survey is aninstrument developed and required by NASA that focuses on the impact of a project on theSTEM learning.

Dillihunt, M. L., & Smith, D. W., & Farrington, P. A. (2012, June), Impact of Innovative Student Project for the Increased Recruitment of Engineering and Science Students (InSPIRESS) Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21473

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