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Impacting Students’ Interest In Stem Fields: An Electronic Communication Course For K 12 Underrepresented Students

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Mentoring & Outreach for Girls & Minorities

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.670.1 - 15.670.11



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Paper Authors

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Aurenice Oliveira Michigan Technological University

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


Abstract A growing demand for technological advances means more jobs for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workers. The need for technical workers in STEM fields continues to grow as technology moves forward. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth of 22% for STEM occupations as a whole by 2014. Preparation for success in STEM areas should begin in middle and high school, through rigorous college preparatory coursework and extracurricular activities. Students participating in extra-curricular STEM activities during the academic year and in summer camps increase their interest in college education, explore career options, and are better prepared to pursue and successfully graduate in STEM majors, especially engineering.

Workers in STEM occupations use science and math to solve problems. However, the traditional method for teaching science and mathematics has been rote memorization of facts quantified by student achievement based on multiple choice or fill-in-the blank tests. Science and mathematics were not integrated but, rather have been taught as separate subjects. Current research suggests that science and mathematics be taught together to students prior to college1. An effective strategy for the integration of science and mathematics is the incorporation into the instructional strategies of topics that directly apply both disciplines, such as engineering and technology topics. Although students are taught about mathematics and science, most students are relatively uninformed about technology and the field of engineering. These topics assists in making thinking more visible to a student which leads to a greater likelihood of discussion and increased understanding2, especially if students learn about technologies present in the daily lives.

This paper presents an Electronic Communication course that is part of an out of school time educational program targeting urban African American and Hispanic American students in high school to make STEM disciplines more culturally relevant for these underrepresented youths. The goal of this week-long summer day course is to impact students’ interest in STEM fields, especially increasing awareness toward engineering and what engineers do, and to effectively contribute to the transition of high school into college. Students learn Electronic Communication Technologies through an intense load of hands-on activities closely coordinated with theoretical classroom discussion focusing on exciting real-world engineering applications of a variety of communication systems. The course attendees responded an end of course survey to assess the success of the course in achieving its goal in terms of impacting students’ knowledge on engineering and on the specific subject, and attitude towards college education and STEM areas. The survey results revealed, among other findings, that students’ interest in college education further increased. These results will assist us to refine our goals, and on the development of other similar programs.

Oliveira, A. (2010, June), Impacting Students’ Interest In Stem Fields: An Electronic Communication Course For K 12 Underrepresented Students Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15714

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