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Integrating Graduate Student Research Into K 12 Classrooms: A Gk 12 Fellows Project

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Engineering Collaboration: Faculty & Student in K-12 Programs

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.764.1 - 15.764.14



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Paper Authors

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Vikram Kapila Polytechnic University


Magued Iskander Polytechnic University

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MAGUED ISKANDER is Associate Professor and Graduate Adviser of the Civil Engineering Department at Polytechnic Institute of NYU, Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Iskander is a recipient of NSF CAREER award, Chi Epsilon (Civil Engineering Honor Society) Metropolitan District James M. Robbins Excellence in Teaching Award, Polytechnic’s Distinguished Teacher Award, and Polytechnic’s Jacobs Excellence in Education Award. Dr. Iskander’s research interests include Geotechnical modeling with transparent soils, foundation engineering, and urban geotechnology. He makes extenive uses of sensors and measurement systems in his research studies. Dr. Iskander has published 50 papers and supervised 6 doctoral students, 14 masters students, 6 undergraduate students, and 7 high school students.

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Noel Kriftcher Polytechnic University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Integrating Graduate Student Research into K-12 Classrooms: A GK-12 Fellows Project

1. Introduction

In recent years, the importance of development of soft skills to the professional vitality of engineers has been recognized by, among others, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) via its criteria 2000.1—3 Thus, in order to satisfy the ABET 2000 criteria, many undergraduate engineering programs in the U.S. have pursued various curricular strategies to provide opportunities for developing such skills in their graduates.4—6 While the traditional academic preparation of graduate engineering students imparts to them a deep understanding of their disciplinary focus, formal efforts have rarely been devised to develop and enhance their soft skills. Yet, the marketplace demands graduate engineers who not only have the disciplinary expertise but can also communicate complex scientific and technical concepts effectively to a variety of stakeholders. For example, many graduate engineers are often called upon to educate others. While some may do this in a formal educational setting, many others do so informally, for example, to train co-workers or clients in the use of new devices or computer programs.

Using the model of National Science Foundation’s Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) Program, Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) is broadening the training and preparation of graduate engineering “Fellows” to allow them to become effective communicators and practitioners of their disciplines. Specifically, a summer workshop, conducted by a science education expert, introduces to Fellows fundamental concepts, tools, and strategies in teaching and learning so that they may develop effective teaching skills. Furthermore, the workshop develops Fellows’ skills as mentors and leaders, and in communication, teamwork, and creativity. During the academic year, under the supervision of a partner teacher, Fellows serve as engineers-in-residence in local area elementary, middle, and high schools. The project allows the Fellows to connect their research with societal needs, become stronger scientists and engineers, and in the process, help improve teaching of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses in K-12 environment.

This paper provides an overview of the program’s structure and activities. In addition, illustrative examples of Fellows’ research and its classroom integration are given. Early results of project’s impacts on three key constituencies, viz., Fellows, students, and teachers, are also included.

Kapila, V., & Iskander, M., & Kriftcher, N. (2010, June), Integrating Graduate Student Research Into K 12 Classrooms: A Gk 12 Fellows Project Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16007

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