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Intersections Between Science And Engineering Education, And Recruitment Of Female And Native American Students

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Issues of Diversity

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.956.1 - 12.956.21



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Paper Authors


Fonda Swimmer Northern Arizona University

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Fonda Swimmer received her Master of Public Administration degree from Northern Arizona University, where she is currently the Director of the Multicultural Engineering Program and is the co-advisor for several multicultural clubs. She works in the area of recruitment and retention of underrepresented students in engineering and higher education in general, and provides multiple support services to multicultural engineering and science college students. Ms. Swimmer is also involved in a variety of pre-college outreach programs in the STEM disciplines. Her other interests include, Native American Self-Determination, Native Peoples, and Native Americans and Higher Education. Ms. Swimmer is a member of the Navajo Nation.

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Karen Jarratt-Ziemski Ft. Lewis College

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Karen Jarratt-Ziemski received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Northern Arizona University. She is currently a visiting faculty member of the American Indian Studies Program at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Dr. Jarratt-Ziemski is also the advisor to the Fort Lewis Chapter of AISES, and writes and works on many American Indian issues, including American Indian Self-Determination and Environmental Justice and Native Peoples. Dr. Jarratt-Ziemski is also involved in K-12 STEM education for American Indian students and connecting applications of traditional indigenous knowledge within science and engineering education. Dr. Jarratt-Ziemski is Mississippi Choctaw.

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

Intersections between Science & Engineering Education and Recruitment of Female and Native American Students


Authors will present an extensive overview of women and minorities in science, technology, engineering and math; provide discussion of the importance of multicontextuality as a tool in the use of effective pedagogy, particularly in regards to Native American women in a pre-college program and present information on the successful development of the Northern Arizona University STEP UP (Summer Technology and Engineering Program and University Preview) Engineering camp for high school age female students.

The Northern Arizona University (NAU) Multicultural Engineering Program embarked upon the development and implementation of the STEP UP (Summer Technology and Engineering Program and University Preview) camp for high school age female students. After a pilot year in 2005, the STEP UP camp implemented a full scale camp in summer 2006. Garnering support for the first ever engineering camp on the NAU campus through college and university support as well as faculty and industry support; the STEP UP camp was a success. The majority of young women in attendance were Native American, which presented an opportunity to positively influence their pre-college decisions and provide an access point to considering career paths toward science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. Assessment, evaluation and tracking are a part of this initiative.

This paper will discuss the successful dynamics used and pedagogical approach toward nurturing the female participants’ interests in engineering and science through hands-on activities, personal and team dynamics, faculty and current engineering/science student instruction and industry participation; the creation of personal connection to the Multicultural Engineering Program and the relevance of this for female recruitment and retention towards STEM disciplines will also be discussed. In addition, practical information regarding the scoping, development, trial and error, and full implementation will be discussed.

In addition, this paper will address possibilities for the future of recruitment and retention of female engineering and science students at Northern Arizona University and the sustainability of the existing program.


Despite two decades of advancement of women in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), women are still sorely underrepresented both in academia and in industry when compared to their male counterparts. Women in science and engineering (S & E) have experienced some gains in areas of undergraduate and graduate enrollment, earned baccalaureate degrees, graduate and doctoral degrees and even in the workforce. However, this somewhat “rosy” picture, does not however tell the complete story. Women continue to significantly lag behind men in S & E fields in almost all categories mentioned. Why are women still in the back of the pack and what role has the academy played in these outcomes? More importantly, what

Swimmer, F., & Jarratt-Ziemski, K. (2007, June), Intersections Between Science And Engineering Education, And Recruitment Of Female And Native American Students Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--3018

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