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Investigation of High School Pathways into Engineering (work in progress)

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Conference

2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

K-12 and Pre-College Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count

10

Page Numbers

24.826.1 - 24.826.10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/20718

Download Count

48

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Paper Authors

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Carla B. Zoltowski Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Carla B. Zoltowski, Ph.D., is Co-Director of the EPICS Program at Purdue University. She received her B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering and Ph.D. in engineering education, all from Purdue University. She has served as a lecturer in Purdue’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Dr. Zoltowski’s academic and research interests include human-centered design learning and assessment, service-learning, ethical reasoning development and assessment, leadership, and assistive technology.

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Marisa Exter Purdue University

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Marisa Exter is an Assistant Professor of Learning Design and Technology in the department of Curriculum and Instruction at Purdue University. Her cross-disciplinary background includes degrees in Computer Science and Instructional Systems Technology. Marisa Exter’s research aims to provide recommendations to improve or enhance design and technology programs. Some of her previous research has focused on software designers’ formal and non-formal educational experiences and use of precedent materials, and experienced instructional designers’ beliefs about design character. These studies have highlighted the importance of cross-disciplinary skills and student engagement in large-scale, real-world projects.

She has been working with the EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) High team to understand whether participating in service-learning engineering projects at the high-school level increases student knowledge about and interest in working in the field of engineering.

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Monica E. Cardella Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Monica E. Cardella is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University and the Director of Informal Learning Environments Research for INSPIRE (the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning). She has a BSc in Mathematics from the University of Puget Sound and an MS and PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Washington. Her research focuses on: parents' roles in engineering education; engineering learning in informal environments; engineering design education; and mathematical thinking.

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Todd P. Shuba Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Todd Shuba is a Master’s student in Education with a concentration in Educational Psychology at Purdue University. He is also a Graduate Research Assistant with the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) High School Program. His research interests include transfer of learning, collaborative learning, and student achievement and motivation. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Engineering with a concentration in Environmental and Ecological Engineering and a minor in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue.

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Ji Hyun Yu Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Mindy Hart EPICS

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William C. Oakes Purdue University, West Lafayette

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William (Bill) Oakes is the Director of the EPICS Program and Professor at Purdue University. He is one of the founding faculty members in the School of Engineering Education with courtesy appointments in Mechanical, Environmental and Ecological Engineering as well as Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education. He has received numerous awards for his efforts at Purdue including being elected as a fellow of the Teaching Academy and listed in the Book of Great Teachers. He was the first engineer to receive the U.S. Campus Compact Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service-Learning. He was a co-recipient of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering’s Bernard Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education and the recipient of the ASEE Chester Carlson Award for Innovation in Engineering Education. He is a fellow of ASEE and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).

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Abstract

Investigation of High School Pathways into Engineering (work in progress)Meeting the global challenges of this century requires a technical workforce that is both diverseand highly trained. The decrease in the number of K-12 students pursuing engineering careersposes a problem, as there is a critical need in the United States for more engineers. However,traditional approaches have not brought the desired quantity or diversity of students intoengineering.A significant effort has aimed at increasing the number of practicing engineers as well asincreasing student interest in engineering among both women and underrepresented minorities.Until recently, most of these initiatives have been implemented at the postsecondary level.Despite these efforts, only limited increases have been seen in engineering recruitment, interest,or retention. While cultural diversity is improving, underrepresented minorities continue to havedisproportionally low numbers in engineering compared to the overall population. Newapproaches are needed to expand the pathways into engineering.One such approach engages students in engineering projects that meet a need within theircommunity. Preliminary data from this program are promising. Demographic data indicate thatit is nearly gender balanced and culturally diverse. Additionally, it saw an increase inparticipants’ interest in STEM fields.However, students’ academic and career choices are influenced by a number of factors inaddition to personal interest in a particular field. These include individual factors such as self-efficacy and outcome expectations and contextual factors such as supports and barriers.Understanding these factors is important, and there is a need for a more comprehensive study ofthe impact of engineering service learning programs on pathways into engineering and thecharacteristics and mechanisms that contribute to the factors. Building on a number of studiesthat have investigated pathways both into and through engineering, we are beginning a study toexplore high school students’ experiences in our program and how they impact pathways intoengineering using a mix-methods approach grounded in Social Cognitive Career Theory.As an initial step, we have developed a survey, which can be given to students before and afterthey participate in the program, in order to determine changes in their self-efficacy, outcomeexpectations, and personal interest. We have included items adapted from other validatedinstruments to explore these three factors. In addition, we have included items to explore context(i.e., supports and barriers) through the areas of parent supportiveness (e.g., parent educationlevel, parent involvement in college planning, and parent career hope), school supportiveness(e.g., school involvement in college planning), general knowledge about college, and rolemodels.In this paper, we describe the survey framework and its development, including feedback andchanges made from a pilot administration of the instrument.

Zoltowski, C. B., & Exter, M., & Cardella, M. E., & Shuba, T. P., & Yu, J. H., & Hart, M., & Oakes, W. C. (2014, June), Investigation of High School Pathways into Engineering (work in progress) Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/20718

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