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Incorporating Engineering Programs for Secondary Schools in Trinidad and Tobago (Work in Progress)

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division Poster Session: Works in Progress

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

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Paper Authors


Tasha Tiffany Tardieu University of Michigan

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Recent graduate of the University of Michigan, studied Civil Engineering with an International Studies Minor for Engineers. As a student in the College of Engineering's Honors Program, I investigated the incorporation of co-curricular engineering programs at the upper secondary school level in Trinidad and Tobago for my capstone project. This project will be continued beyond my undergraduate career.

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Shanna R. Daly University of Michigan Orcid 16x16

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Shanna Daly is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan. She has a B.E. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Dayton (2003) and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University (2008). Her research focuses on strategies for design innovations through divergent and convergent thinking as well as through deep needs and community assessments using design ethnography, and translating those strategies to design tools and education. She teaches design and entrepreneurship courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, focusing on front-end design processes.

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Trinidad and Tobago is the country with the highest literacy rate in the Caribbean at approximately 98%. Education plays a large role in the nation’s development with primary education (Grades 1-5) and secondary education (Grades 6-12) being offered freely to all children between the ages of 5 and 18 years. Tertiary education is highly subsidized for all qualified students at local and regional institutions. However, despite the strong focus on education, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education remains highly undeveloped at the secondary level, especially Technology and Engineering. While students in the Caribbean have high exposure to theoretical math and physics, these curricula lack engineering applications and project-based learning. Evaluations of project-based learning have shown that it is an effective teaching tool for developing interest in the STEM fields, and especially in engineering.

The long-term goal of this work is to support the integration of practical engineering experience with an emphasis on design and teamwork in the co-curricular activities offered to secondary school students in Trinidad and Tobago. In order to do this, our research goals were to determine the current knowledge of engineering at the secondary level in Trinidad, the level of student interest in additional engineering activities, and what type of engineering disciplines are most appealing to students. Throughout this year, we plan to determine and address the need for extra-curricular hands-on engineering projects at the upper secondary level in Trinidad and Tobago in order to expose and prepare students for the college level engineering curriculum.

To address these questions, surveys will be administered to current secondary school students about their exposure to various engineering fields and to post-secondary students about their university experience in engineering, given their secondary education. Based on the results, we hope to develop a project-based engineering curriculum as an extra-curricular program for interested secondary school students in Trinidad to gain practical engineering exposure prior to college enrollment. We will investigate curriculum models for incorporating engineering into secondary schools, based on similar programs that are open to high school students in the United States of America and drawing from the large online base of engineering education resources in conjunction with input from relevant professors.

Tardieu, T. T., & Daly, S. R. (2016, June), Incorporating Engineering Programs for Secondary Schools in Trinidad and Tobago (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25654

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