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Lessons Learned from Development of an Elective Undergraduate Course on DEI in STEM

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2024 Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity (CoNECD)


Arlington, Virginia

Publication Date

February 25, 2024

Start Date

February 25, 2024

End Date

February 27, 2024

Conference Session

Track 7: Technical Session 2: Lessons Learned from Development of an Elective Undergraduate Course on DEI in STEM

Tagged Topics

Diversity and CoNECD Paper Sessions

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Paper Authors


Leigh S McCue George Mason University

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Leigh McCue is Chair of George Mason University's Department of Mechanical Engineering.

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Christopher Alexander Carr George Mason University

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Christopher Carr is a leadership and policy wonk in the areas of diversity, higher education, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). His unwavering support in the work of intersectional justice has allowed him to trek a path in the difficult areas of retention in institutions of higher learning, teamwork and organizational development in the collegiate and professional sphere, and diverse representation in STEM fields. With a background in public policy, he takes his ethical stances into conversations around tough issues to make sure all voices are included.

In his professional life, Carr has convened numerous diversity leadership forums in STEM education – bringing together over 100 deans and diversity administrators to talk about underrepresented students persistence, diverse faculty recruitment, and creating inclusive campus climates. Carr has also been a champion for access to opportunities for those from historically oppressed groups. He worked to see outreach efforts exponentially expand to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities. His efforts transformed the way the National Science Foundation both solicited the premier Graduate Research Fellowship Program, which led to comprehensive changes in other federal STEM fellowships.

In his role at Mason, Carr supports the faculty with search committee parameters to help ensure that the George Mason faculty better represents the diverse Mason student body, he supports the Office of the Dean and the associate deans in their efforts to develop and enhance an equitable and just campus climate within the College of Engineering and Computing, and he supports the larger campus community goals by helping to challenge the status quo and assist in the university in its strategic goals.

Christopher has is Bachelor of Arts in International Relations & History from William Jewell College, a Master of Public Policy from Pepperdine University, and a Doctorate of Education in Interdisciplinary Leadership from Creighton University.

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Kevin William Kuck George Mason University

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Kevin W. Kuck is a dedicated and accomplished individual whose journey is marked by a passion for engineering, a flair for photography, and an unyielding commitment to academic excellence. Born and raised in Virginia, Kevin has always been driven to excel in both the technical and creative realms of his life.

In 2019, Kevin graduated from Lake Braddock Secondary School, earning his High School Diploma with distinction. During high school, he distinguished himself as a Certified AP Scholar and regularly appeared on the Academic Honor Roll, foreshadowing the academic successes to come.

Kevin's thirst for knowledge led him to George Mason University, where he embarked on his pursuit of a BS in Mechanical Engineering. As of the expected graduation date in May 2024, Kevin has maintained an impressive cumulative GPA of 3.73. His dedication to his field is further demonstrated by his Major GPA of 3.63, showcasing his mastery of Mechanical Engineering concepts. Additionally, Kevin has a minor in Photography and boasts an exceptional Minor GPA of 3.90, emphasizing his commitment to diverse interests and talents.

Throughout his academic journey, Kevin has been recognized for his outstanding achievements. He has consistently been named to the Dean's List at GMU, an impressive feat accomplished in 7 out of 9 semesters. His commitment to excellence in engineering has also been affirmed through his certifications as an Autodesk Certified User in both AutoCAD and Inventor.

One notable highlight of Kevin's academic career was his presentation of his first independent research paper on bias in generative artificial intelligence titled "Generative Artificial Intelligence: A Double-Edged Sword," which was given at the World Engineering Education Forum & Global Engineering Dean’s Council in October 2023. His work demonstrates his keen interest in cutting-edge technology, engineering solutions, and a passion for DEI topics.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Kevin has gained valuable experience through various internships and work roles. He served as a Mechanical Engineering Intern at Jacobs, where he contributed to HVAC and MEP design projects, created energy models using HAP, and performed essential calculations for mechanical equipment selection. His involvement in report writing summarizing ultrasonic pipe testing showcased his skills for technical reading and writing and being able to bridge the gap between client and engineer.

In his role as an Intern Engineering Inspector at CES Consulting LLC, Kevin demonstrated a strong commitment to quality assurance and control, ensuring that construction aligned with design plans and bringing errors to the attention of senior inspectors for correction.

His involvement extends beyond his work and academic pursuits; His membership in the National ASME and AIAA organizations reflects his commitment to his field and his versatile interests. Additionally, he has taken on leadership responsibilities as the GMU ASME President, where he has organized informational sessions and collaborated with various companies and individuals to foster a dynamic engineering community. Kevin is also an active member of the Student Platform for Engineering Education Development (SPEED), where he serves as Webmaster and Photographer.
SPEED is a worldwide non-profit student organization that serves to work towards a common goal: generate a positive effect of engineering on society and the environment, and involve students in the participation of the decision-making process.

Outside of academics and work, Kevin's skills are diverse and impressive. He is proficient in various software and tools, including Revit, HAP, HVAC and MEP design, Adobe products, AutoCAD, Inventor, 3ds Max, Python, MATLAB, welding, and automobile servicing. He has experience with finite element analysis (FEA). Additionally, Kevin is proficient in Spanish, further showcasing his versatility and global perspective.

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Dhiambi Otete

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Violet Veronika Reges

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This paper summarizes the pathway to development of a discussion-based course that provides a historical look at contributions by engineers marginalized by race, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. Case studies are included that particularly shine a light on engineering teams in which a lack of diversity contributed to adverse consequences. The course was designed for engineering students, co-taught by faculty with complimentary backgrounds in engineering and education. In this paper, we discuss the evolution of this course offering from what was originally a single credit hour course taught from solely an engineering perspective and designed to primarily emphasize women in engineering, through multiple offerings to its present format, as a three-credit technical elective focused on all historically marginalized engineers, leveraging collaborative faculty expertise in engineering, diversity, equity, inclusion, and pedagogy. Included in our findings are first person insights on the impact of this form of class on learning and professional development, course evaluation data, and lessons learned in hopes of informing other practitioners in the design of similar course offerings.

McCue, L. S., & Carr, C. A., & Kuck, K. W., & Otete, D., & Reges, V. V. (2024, February), Lessons Learned from Development of an Elective Undergraduate Course on DEI in STEM Paper presented at 2024 Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity (CoNECD), Arlington, Virginia. 10.18260/1-2--45459

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