Asee peer logo

Improved Retention and Other Impacts Benefiting Engineering Technology Undergraduates Involved in High School Outreach

Download Paper |


2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Student Enrollment, Attendance, Retention, and Graduation in Engineering Technology Programs

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.711.1 - 23.711.8



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Christina R Scherrer Southern Polytechnic State University

visit author page

Christina Scherrer is an Associate Professor of industrial engineering technology at Southern Polytechnic State University. Her research interests are in the application of operations research and economic decision analysis to the public sector and in assessing education innovation. She teaches primarily statistics and logistics courses, at both the undergraduate and graduate level. She received her Ph.D. in industrial engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The impact on engineering technology undergraduates caused by performing high school outreachRetention of engineering technology undergraduates remains a problem, especially for studentsfrom underrepresented groups in our field. In addition, motivating promising undergraduatestudents to pursue graduate study in STEM fields is a desirable outcome of our programs. In thisresearch we study the impact that involvement in a high school outreach effort has had on theundergraduates performing that outreach.For the past three years the lead author, an associate professor at a polytechnic university, hasdirected a high school outreach program in which undergraduate students from our universityvisit local schools in teams to teach the high school students how engineers can “do good” in theworld. The outreach was motivated by evidence that emphasizing the social good of engineeringat the K-12 level could increase participation in engineering, especially among some traditionallyunderrepresented groups in the engineering field. Nine of the ten undergraduate studentsperforming the outreach were engineering technology majors and eight were fromunderrepresented groups in engineering as well. The outreach project has been primarilyundergraduate student led. In the first year, students designed the „first generation‟ of hands-onprojects that were used in the presentations. The lead author worked together with the studentsto design the Powerpoint presentation, brochures, and survey instruments. Later studentsupdated the projects and presentation based on feedback from the high schools. The studentsmake the contacts and schedule visits with the high schools and have ownership of the visits.In other work, we have outlined the outreach program and measured the impact on the highschool students‟ perceptions of engineering. In this paper we report on the impact thatperforming the outreach has had on the engineering technology students themselves. To do this,we interviewed all of the past and current outreach participants and performed qualitativeanalysis. Specifically, we study how their participation has affected their interest in remaining inan engineering technology major and their likelihood of going to graduate school. The resultsfrom this work may support the inclusion of similar outreach opportunities in the engineeringtechnology curriculum.

Scherrer, C. R. (2013, June), Improved Retention and Other Impacts Benefiting Engineering Technology Undergraduates Involved in High School Outreach Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19725

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: © 2013 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