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Introducing Talented High School Students To Engineering Via Fluid Mechanics

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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

Enhancing Recruitment and Retention in Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.806.1 - 15.806.24



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Paper Authors


Keith Walters

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Keith Walters is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Mississippi State University. He earned his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University in 2000. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses at MSU in the areas of Heat Transfer and Fluid Mechanics. Dr. Walters received the NSF CAREER Award in 2007 and is a member of the MSU Bagley College of Engineering Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

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Keisha Walters

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Keisha B. Walters is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Mississippi State University. She received her B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from Clemson University in 1996 and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Clemson University in 2001 and 2005. Dr. Walters has taught the Transport Phenomena, Heat Transfer, and Fluids courses and an elective course on Polymeric and Multicomponent Materials. Dr. Walters is a member of the MSU Bagley College of Engineering Academy of Distinguished Teachers and has been a member of ASEE since 2002.

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

Introducing Talented High School Students to Engineering via a Fluid Mechanics Short Course


A three-week 'Introduction to Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics' course was taught to a diverse group of 12 rising high school seniors during the summer. The class was scheduled for three hours per day, and consisted of a mixture of lecture, hands-on experiments, and activities focused on the societal implications of fluid mechanics. All of the students had only basic physics knowledge, and the majority of the course material was completely new to them. Therefore, each topic was covered from a concepts perspective, with only simple mathematical analyses. In addition to the technical material, the course utilized discussions, presentations, and a field trip to university research facilities to raise awareness of careers in science and engineering and the impact of these fields on quality of life. Course outcomes were assessed through course evaluations, interest surveys, and a concept inventory. The concept inventory was designed to assess the students' fundamental understanding of fluid mechanics principles, and was administered both before and after the course. The interest evaluations inquired about the students' interest in science and engineering, knowledge of careers and college majors, and familiarity with fluid mechanics and its role in society. Student responses generally indicated that the course was effective at increasing their awareness of science, engineering, and fluid mechanics, and their consideration of those subjects as career options. Anonymous post-course student evaluations were consistently high. Because the students voluntarily enrolled in the class, it is believed that a high level of interest in science and engineering already existed for these particular students. The concept inventory and course and interest evaluations clearly showed that the students' knowledge of fluid mechanics and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) was strengthened even further by their participation.


The Mississippi Governor’s School (MGS) is a three-week residential summer program for rising high school juniors and seniors throughout the state of Mississippi. The school takes place at the Mississippi University for Women, and is administered by faculty members from that institution. Students apply for admission and are selected based on their academic record, as well as demonstrated intellectual, leadership, and creative potential. During the 2008 session, 105 students attended MGS. The program is immersive, and includes scheduled academic, athletic, and social activities each day of the three-week session with the goal of providing a college-like experience for attendees. The academic portion of the program includes both major courses and interest courses. Course proposals are solicited from university, community college, and high school teachers from across the state, and accepted courses make up the MGS curriculum. Students select one major course and one interest area course to attend for the duration of the program. Major courses are held for three hours per day each morning of the session, and are intended to address a focused topic in one of the four general areas of Science, Mathematics, Arts or Humanities. A total of 8 major courses were offered during the 2008 session. Typical examples of major course titles offered included “Faces and Places: A Creative Writing Workshop”, “Investigating the Impact of the Media”, and “Guitar Studies”. Interest area courses are held for a total of 7.5 hours per week in the afternoons, and are intended to be less

Walters, K., & Walters, K. (2010, June), Introducing Talented High School Students To Engineering Via Fluid Mechanics Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16319

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