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Interest-based Engineering Challenges Phase I: Understanding Students' Personal, Classroom, Engineering, and Career Interests

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Fundamental: K-12 Students' Beliefs, Motivation, and Self-efficacy

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1014.1 - 26.1014.7



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Paper Authors


Cole Hatfield Joslyn Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Cole Joslyn is a PhD student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. His research interests include holistic approaches to humanizing engineering education (such as ethics of care, humanistic education, contemplative and reflective practices, and spirituality) and how it can shape engineering as a socially just profession in service to humanity. He holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and a M.Ed. specializing in mathematics education and has worked as an engineer, a pastor, and a high school math teacher.

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James Holly Jr. INSPIRE Institute, Purdue University Orcid 16x16

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James Holly Jr. is a Ph.D. Student in Engineering Education at Purdue University. He received a B.S. from Tuskegee University and a M.S. from Michigan State University, both in Mechanical Engineering. His research interest is exploring formal and informal K-12 engineering education learning contexts. Specifically, he is interested in how the engineering design process can be used to emphasize the humanistic side of engineering and investigating how engineering habits of mind can enhance pre-college students’ learning abilities.

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Morgan M Hynes Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Morgan Hynes is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University and Director of the FACE Lab research group at Purdue. In his research, Hynes explores the use of engineering to integrate academic subjects in K-12 classrooms. Specific research interests include design metacognition among learners of all ages; the knowledge base for teaching K-12 STEM through engineering; the relationships among the attitudes, beliefs, motivation, cognitive skills, and engineering skills of K-16 engineering learners; and teaching engineering.

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Interest-based engineering challenges phase I: Understanding students’ personal, classroom, engineering, and career interests Using Hynes et al. humanistic framework of engineering, which considers the people andassociated social sciences and humanities knowledge involved when engineering with, for, & aspeople we intend to make a case for emphasizing the “as” people part of engineering. Theresearch presented here falls under a larger investigation of how broad contexts for engineeringdesign challenges may appeal to a more diverse set of students’ interests and help broadenparticipation in engineering. The data reported in this paper relates to the first phase of the largerresearch project focused on understanding students’ personal interests, interests in schoolsubjects, engineering interests, and career interests. The data comes from interviews conducted with middle school and high school studentsthat participated in a summer engineering program targeting underrepresented minorities at alarge Midwestern university. Eight students agreed to participate in the follow-up interviewsconducted several weeks after the weeklong summer engineering program completed. Thestudents participated in semi-structured interviews over the phone that were recorded and thentranscribed for analysis. During preliminary analysis, two main areas of focus emerged. The first area of focusexplores the diversity of interests among students. Deeper analysis of this diversity in interestswas conducted using content analysis looking for key words or themes in interview transcripts.These findings indicate that interest in engineering was common among all participants;however, their interests in engineering centered on a specific activity from the summerengineering program (this will be further explored as part of the scope of the second focus of thisstudy). The diversity of interests vary greatly between the participants falling into categoriessuch as music (playing instruments, making songs), literature & poetry (reading novels, writingstories or poems), outdoor activities (running, walking, playing), and video games (playing). Thesecond area of focus explores themes that were interpreted to be challenges/opportunities forintegrating interests into engineering contexts. These challenges/opportunities include: studentsdo not explicitly connect their personal interests to engineering activities; students have boughtinto the stereotype that one has to be good at math and science to be an engineer; and althoughparticipants had relationships with practicing engineers, they did not utilize those relationships asresources for further exploring/understanding engineering.

Joslyn, C. H., & Holly , J., & Hynes, M. M. (2015, June), Interest-based Engineering Challenges Phase I: Understanding Students' Personal, Classroom, Engineering, and Career Interests Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24351

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