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Integrating Community Engagement, Freshman Chemical Engineering, and an AIChE Student Chapter

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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

Models of community engagement practices

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.769.1 - 24.769.12



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Paper Authors


Bill B. Elmore Mississippi State University

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Bill B. Elmore currently holds the Hunter Henry Chair and Associate Directorship in the Swalm School of Chemical Engineering at Mississippi State University. In his twenty-fourth year of engineering education, Bill focuses on project-based learning at all levels of the undergraduate chemical engineering curriculum and undergraduate research in energy and micro-scale reactor studies.

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Integrating Community Engagement, Freshman Chemical Engineering, and an AIChE Student Chapter AbstractThe focus of this paper is the development of a program integrating regular communityengagement activities with a two-course freshman chemical engineering sequence and theregular activities of the student chapter of the American Institute for Chemical Engineers(AIChE).While the community engagement mission of our AICHE chapter spans a variety oforganizations and activities (e.g. Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, and city Parks andRecreation projects) the LEGO® NXT robotics system has served as a key component in our K-12 outreach program, our freshman chemical engineering classes and as a means for engagingour chemical engineering students in service learning activities.This integration of activities, all surrounding the LEGO™ Robotics system (coupled to Vernier®sensors and probes and “in house”-designed apparatus) has engaged students at all levels, frommiddle school through chemical engineering seniors in an exciting, “studio-based” environment.Anecdotal evidence suggests students readily “latching onto” key concepts and various aspectsof engineering through this “multi-modal” learning approach. Objectives of this method ofprogram integration include: 1) strengthened recruiting of students to engineering studies, 2)better “visualization” of engineering concepts among chemical engineering freshmen and 3) astronger sense of the need for life-long learning and community service among our engineeringundergraduates.The paper will report on assessment activities directed at chemical engineering students’perceptions of impacts community engagement plays in their engineering education and on theperceived improvement in STEM interest among K-12 students participating in those communityengagement activities.

Elmore, B. B. (2014, June), Integrating Community Engagement, Freshman Chemical Engineering, and an AIChE Student Chapter Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20661

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