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Innovation Center: Preparing High School Students for the 21st Century Economy by Providing Resources and Opportunities to Create Genuine Projects with Industry Partners (work in progress)

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

K-12 and Pre-College Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.755.1 - 24.755.6



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Paper Authors

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John Steckel St. Vrain Valley School District


Patty Ann Quinones St. Vrain Valley School District

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Patty Quinones new Executive Director of Innovation for the St. Vrain School District will direct the Race to the Top grant (16.6 mil). Her leadership will be critical to execute the STEM Initiatives in this grant. Her lead in the areas of K-12 programming, integrating STEM curriculum in cores, developing teacher professional development, and opening the Innovation Center which will provide a pipeline for all students in the Skyline feeder for a vision of future opportunity and career success. Patty served as Principal at Skyline high school for 5 years , she transformed and formed the STEM & VPA Academies which have currently 500 students as part of these certification programs. She was instrumental in securing grants, business and educational partnerships for Skyline and continues to do this work in her new position. Ms. Quinones also organized efforts to implement: 1 on 1 Laptop Initiative, Mini-STEM Academy in the summer, HS Department of Computer Science, internships & jobs for STEM students. Ms. Quinones has presented at many national and regional educational conferences (ASEE, NSTA, CASE, CoCo STEM Forums). Co-authored: Best Practices in High school and Higher education.

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Malinda S. Zarske University of Colorado, Boulder


Daniel Knight University of Colorado, Boulder

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Dr. Daniel Knight is the Program Assessment and Research Associate with the Design Center Colorado in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering and Applied Science at University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Knight's duties include assessment, program evaluation, education research, and teambuilding for the Center's hands-on, industry-sponsored design projects. Dr. Knight's research interests are in assessment, teamwork, K-12, and engineering for developing communities.

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Innovation Center: Preparing High School Students for the 21st Century Economy by Providing Resources and Opportunities to Create Genuine Projects with Industry Partners (work in progress)The (X) Innovation Center (IC) is a research and design incubator located within (X) SchoolDistrict and created to bridge the academic and career-readiness pathways for science,technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students in a high school setting. Our mission is tomatch highly skilled STEM students with industry, government and entrepreneurialopportunities. The students will develop real-world projects with worldwide applications.The IC is housed within 6,000 square feet of design space equipped with state-of-the-art designfacilities including manufacturing and electronics support as well as team design space. Thecurrent facility was remodeled to align with a partner (X) University College of Engineeringincubator. The (X) school district is preparing for the successful future of the IC with designs fora larger 40,000 square foot, 10 million dollar stand-alone facility that readies the IC to competein the 21st century economy.Partnerships are a prime focus of the IC, with key collaborations between district, industry, anduniversity stakeholders. The IC collaborates with the (X) STEM Academy that has a focus onengineering and computer programming as their STEM certification pathway. Another keycollaboration is the unique partnership between the IC and the (X) University College ofEngineering, involving a strong alignment of curriculum and targeting admission for STEMgraduates into the engineering undergraduate program. Partnerships with industry are the thirdkey collaboration of the IC for creating an enterprise zone within the K-12 system that functionsas a high-level workforce readiness pipeline. It is expected that the development of industrypartnerships at the high school level will help produce the next generation of innovators.As a comprehensive research and development center, the IC will provide an environmenttailored to inventors, designers, and entrepreneurs. Analytical problem-solving skills,collaboration, and innovation will all be cultivated. Project development will follow one of threetracks. One track has students working in the Innovation Center on their STEM Academy seniorcapstone projects for a grade. The next two tracks take advantage of an on-line STEM portalwhere students and industry partners can market projects. On one track, students market theircapstone projects to potential industry investors and on the second track, industry investors canpost projects for IC teams to bid on. In this track, STEM students have the opportunity forprivate enterprise to provide paid project team positions to work on solutions to industryproblems. Once completed, students showcase their projects at both STEM Academy andCollege of Engineering Design Expos.To conclude, this paper will describe the development of the IC, including securing funds,nurturing industry partners, and lessons learned. Three pilot student industry projects will bedescribed and evaluated for generalizability to other suburban communities. Ultimately, thispaper will provide a starting road map for school districts that have a desire to expand K-12engineering out of the classroom and into the community.

Steckel, J., & Quinones, P. A., & Zarske, M. S., & Knight, D. (2014, June), Innovation Center: Preparing High School Students for the 21st Century Economy by Providing Resources and Opportunities to Create Genuine Projects with Industry Partners (work in progress) Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20647

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