July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Community-Engaged Engineering Education Challenges and Opportunities in Light of COVID-19 Paper Presentations 1
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society, Community Engagement Division, and Equity, Culture & Social Justice in Education
Leveling the Playing Field: A Virtual Summer Camp for Women of Color
People of color are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines (STEM). The number is even smaller for women of color who enter into STEM fields. Based on current projections, it is estimated that by the year 2044 underrepresented minorities (Black, Hispanic, LatinX and American Indian) will comprise over 50% of the overall population in the U.S. However, underrepresented minority (URM) youth lag significantly behind their white and Asian American counterparts in their interest in STEM. Lower representation of URMs in STEM can be attributed to a variety of factors including, a lack of institutional commitment, a lack of representation throughout students’ upbringing, ineffective cultural recruitment/outreach efforts, educational discrepancies throughout PK-12, and social expectations among others. A large portion of government efforts to address this problem focuses on initiatives and training to overcome negative perceptions and attitudes towards STEM and entice more URM youth into STEM pathways. In order for the United States to maintain a competitive position in innovation and technology, the disparity must be reduced.
The Women of Color Summer Engineering Camp (WOCSEC) was developed to address the aforementioned disparity. The camp was composed of six outreach components to provide engaging, critical thinking and uplifting experiences for all of its participants. The components include: Engineering design challenges, interactive forum and panels, empowerment sessions, engineer interviews, college readiness and a daily laboratory session. Due to Covid-19 the camp was transformed from an in-person face to face experience to a virtual experience. Online learning is an effective method of instruction, provided that devices and technology platforms are accessible and screen time is monitored and limited. WOCSEC includes workshops for standardized testing, the college application process, scholarship resources, shadowing opportunities, summer internships and the required high school courses required of most collegiate engineering programs. Students were given a pre-survey the first day of the camp to assess their attitudes and perceptions towards entering STEM fields. In an effort to measure student’s change in perception, students completed a post survey. In addition to the pre-post survey, a semi-annual quantitative and qualitative inquiry tool will be administered to camp participants throughout high school to measure their interest in engineering, intent to major in STEM and overall college readiness. In this paper we will describe how the program was implemented, the experience of the participants and share the data from the pre-post survey.
Gaskins, W., & Lampley, P. D., & Cabrera-Toro, K. L. (2021, July), Leveling the Playing Field: A Virtual Summer Camp for Women of Color Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37453
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