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Industry-Based STEM Lab Implementation (Work in Progress)

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


William Harrison Walls Purdue University

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Graduate student at Purdue University.

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Greg J. Strimel Purdue University Orcid 16x16

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Greg J. Strimel, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Technology Leadership and Innovation and coordinator of the Design and Innovation Minor at Purdue University. Dr. Strimel conducts research on design pedagogy, cognition, and assessment as well as the preparation of K-12 engineering teachers.

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Learning environments such as STEM labs and makerspaces continue to be implemented in various educational settings, such as schools, museums, universities, and community centers, to provide hands-on opportunities for student learning. More recently, due to concerns about workforce demands and the talent gap that faces manufacturers in the United States, industry has now begun to establish these learning environments and embed them within educational tours and outreach programs to help widen their future talent pipeline. While this novel approach is situated to expose children to relevant-manufacturing careers, it is unknown how such initiatives influence their perceptions of careers, specifically related to manufacturing. Therefore, this study was conducted to investigate the industry application of STEM labs to determine how such an environment can influence a child’s perception of manufacturing-related careers, as well as how these spaces fall within the greater context of STEM labs. Preliminary data were collected from a “Draw-A-Manufacturer” test, which was administered before and after the industry-based STEM lab experience with 143 children, ages 10-12. These data were then analyzed to determine a beginning understanding of the potential influence of the activities within this industry-based STEM lab, as well as the accompanying tour, on children’s career perceptions. The results help identify how students initially thought about manufacturing jobs; providing opportunities to improve both the educational intervention activities and the data collection techniques. The results of this preliminary analysis are presented and used as a foundation for discussions and recommendations for developing industry-led outreach initiatives and preparing children for the future of learning and work.

Walls, W. H., & Strimel, G. J. (2021, July), Industry-Based STEM Lab Implementation (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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