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Improving the Engineering Pipeline through University and Community-developed Museum-based Educational Kits

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Community Engagement Division Technical Session 7

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

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Paper Authors


Stacey V Freeman Boston University

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Dr. Stacey Freeman is the Director of National Outreach for the College of Engineering at Boston University. In this role, she is responsible for planning, developing, and implementing outreach and diversity programs and initiatives to promote Engineering and increase the K-12 pipeline for women and underrepresented minority students. Specifically, she supervises staff and students to sustain and develop innovative and cutting edge approaches to K-12 STEM outreach, such as the Technology Innovation Scholars Program which is a professional development program for undergraduate students that provides them the opportunities to fulfill their role as “societal engineers” by connecting the College with K-12 communities throughout Boston and beyond.

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Sandra Lina Rodegher Boston University

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Dr. Sandra Rodegher is the Manager for National Outreach Initiatives for the Office of Outreach and Diversity in Boston University's College of Engineering. In this role she seeks to develop mechanisms for engaging diverse populations and creating cultures of inclusion. She is also a Senior Sustainability Scientist and was previously a Senior Program Coordinator for Sustainability in Science Museums at Arizona State University (ASU). She holds a Ph.D. in Sustainability Science from ASU and an M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the University of New Haven

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Museums provide much-needed opportunities for creative thinking, exploration, and STEM identity development. This paper describes the pilot testing a two-year NSF project in which researchers from Boston University partnered with museums across the U.S. and internationally, to develop culturally-relevant, hands-on activities that are distributed to over 50 museums. The project goal is to help combat engineering pipeline challenges by providing K-12 students with activities to educate them about engineering so the students can see how their involvement in STEM careers could positively impact their communities. This paper focuses on the university-museum partnership model and its uniqueness in that all levels of the program implementation and evaluation involved direct input from the museum partners to ensure the educational kits are community-informed and socially-driven.

There are several goals associated with this project. For the purposes of this paper, we will focus on how this project model creates synergies within an interdisciplinary team of faculty, graduate students, and museum educators, to inform and assess culturally-relevant, hands-on, interactive activities focused on engineering broadly. Working closely with 10 museum partners and educators in Ontario, Portland, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, Detroit, Miami, Ann Arbor, Boston and Buenos Aires, kits were tested, the feedback was collected, and evaluation results were used to continuously iterate on the kits to ensure they work well in diverse settings.

Freeman, S. V., & Rodegher, S. L. (2020, June), Improving the Engineering Pipeline through University and Community-developed Museum-based Educational Kits Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34801

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