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Industrial Engineering Outreach to K-12 Community

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

IED Technical Session: Preparing Programs for the Future

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Anuj Mittal Iowa State University

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Anuj Mittal is a PhD Candidate in Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at Iowa State University. His research interests include agent-based modeling and discrete-event simulation and their applications in sustainable sociotechnical systems. He is currently a NSF-Trinect Engineering Fellow, and is working with cooperating teachers and student teachers at Des Moines Public Schools to help improve STEM education in an elementary school classroom. He is actively involved in developing and deploying several Industrial Engineering outreach activities with the K-12 community at Iowa State University. He obtained his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from University of Delhi, India and a M.S. in Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University. He has worked as an engineer for Whirlpool Corporation, Amana and Doosan Power Systems India.

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Sriram Sundararajan Iowa State University

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Sriram Sundararajan is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and serves as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering at Iowa State University. His research areas encompass multiscale tribology (friction, lubrication and wear) and engineering education. He has authored over 70 articles in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings and two invited book chapters. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and serves as an ABET program evaluator. Sriram is a steering committee member for the International Conference on Wear of Materials and an executive committee member of the Mechanical Engineering Division of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). He serves as their delegate on the ASEE diversity committee and also on the ASME Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Committee. He received his B.E. degree in Mechanical Engineering from The Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (India) followed by M.S. and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

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D. Raj Raman Iowa State University Orcid 16x16

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Raj Raman is Morrill Professor of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) Department at Iowa State University, where he is also University Education Program Director and Testbed Champion for the NSF Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC). He is a licensed Professional Engineer who earned his BS in Electrical Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology and his PhD in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Cornell University. Prior to coming to Iowa State in 2006, he was a faculty member at the University of Tennessee for over twelve years.

Raman enjoys teaching and has taught courses including freshmen engineering (mechanics and computer programming – to classes ranging in size from 20 to 500+), sophomore and junior level courses on mass and energy balance applications to biological systems engineering, numerical methods, electric power and electronics for technology students, senior design, as well as a long-standing residential/online graduate course on the fundamentals of biorenewable resources and technology. He believes well trained, curious, thoughtful people are crucial to a university’s research effort, and similarly to the function and survival of society. For this reason, the overarching goal of his teaching is to impart the core content needed by the students, and to do so while encouraging inquisition and higher levels of thought. He has secured competitive funds to support his teaching efforts – from university, industry, and federal sources – and for his efforts has received departmental, college, and national teaching honors including the Massey-Ferguson Gold Medal Award given by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.

Raman chairs the ABE Engineering Curriculum Committee and in that role oversaw the successful 2012 ABET accreditation visit for both the Agricultural Engineering (AE) and Biological Systems Engineering (BSE) degree programs. Upon arriving at ISU in 2006, he led the development of the BSE program, a program that enrolls over 100 students. In his role as Pyrone Testbed Champion for CBiRC, Raman and his students have developed early-stage technoeconomic models of bioprocessing systems. His graduate students have gone on to faculty positions at Purdue and the University of Georgia, and to engineering leadership positions at companies including Cargill, Nestle, and Merck.

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Caroline C. Krejci University of Texas at Arlington

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Dr. Caroline Krejci is an Assistant Professor of Industrial, Manufacturing, and Systems Engineering at The University of Texas at Arlington. She holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Washington. Her research is focused on the development of quantitative methodologies for the analysis and sustainable management of sociotechnical systems, including supply networks and production systems. Her email address is

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Despite the ubiquity of industrial engineers in the workplace, the K-12 community is relatively unaware of this critical engineering discipline. As a result, few high school students pursue industrial engineering (IE) as a career option. In fact, engineering enrollment data at Iowa State University shows that very few (typically 4%) of the students who select a major upon entry into an engineering program select IE. On the other hand, students who enter as undeclared engineering majors are more likely (around 16%) to select IE after learning about the program. Past research has shown that K-12 student awareness of a STEM discipline impacts their eventual selection of that discipline as a career option. Therefore, for IE to live up to its potential as a discipline, a greater number of IE-oriented outreach activities are needed for K-12 students. In this work, we report on the development, deployment, and assessment of a suite of IE outreach activities at Iowa State University. These hands-on activities were focused on assembly line and supply chain management concepts. The activities were conducted with pre-service teachers enrolled in the School of Education at Iowa State University, and with middle and high school students. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first IE-focused outreach effort with pre-service teachers.

While increasing the number of IE outreach activities is important, adopting the right structure for the activities is equally important. A risk in IE outreach activities is that they may lead to a trivial understanding of the subject. There is an understandable temptation to suggest that IE concepts are encountered regularly in day-to-day affairs, which can create misconceptions about the field. Other investigators have noted that the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) modules related to environmental engineering, agriculture engineering, and bioengineering are richer in science content than those based on civil engineering and industrial engineering. To address these concerns, we have explicitly attempted to design our IE outreach activities to include a stronger math/science link, along with traditional IE concepts, such as line balancing, eliminating bottlenecks, and demand forecasting. In this work, we provide details of the different activities that were developed and realistic estimates of the time required to develop and deploy them, as well as assessment results from the associated programs.

Mittal, A., & Sundararajan, S., & Raman, D. R., & Krejci, C. C. (2018, June), Industrial Engineering Outreach to K-12 Community Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30655

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