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Long Term Effects Of A Middle School Engineering Outreach Program For Girls: A Controlled Study

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

K-12 Programs (Co-sponsored by K-12 Division)

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count

17

Page Numbers

12.1024.1 - 12.1024.17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2098

Download Count

73

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Paper Authors

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Jeanne Hubelbank WPI Evaluation Consulting

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JEANNE HUBELBANK is an independent program evaluator and part-time faculty member at Boston College's Lynch School of Education. WPI's Camp Reach was one of her recent evaluation clients. Her teaching and research interests include assessment in higher education, creating a culture of evaluation use, evaluation capacity building, and educational technology.

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Chrysanthe Demetry Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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CHRYSANTHE DEMETRY is Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Center for Educational Development and Assessment at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She co-founded Camp Reach and has co-directed the program from 1997-98 and 2003-present. Her teaching and research interests include use of educational technology, classroom formative assessment, development of intercultural sensitivity, and K-12 engineering outreach. She received the ASM Bradley Stoughton Award for Young Teachers in 2000 and WPI's Trustees' Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2002.

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Shelley Errington Nicholson Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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SHELLEY ERRINGTON NICHOLSON serves as the Director of Women’s Programs at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She has co-directed Camp Reach since 2006. Prior to joining WPI Shelley has worked at several institutions including Rice University in Houston, the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. While at MCPHS Shelley was awarded the National Association of College Student Personnel 2004 Best Practices in International Education and Learning award.

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Stephanie Blaisdell Independent Consultant

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STEPHANIE BLAISDELL is a consultant for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematic) projects, based in Memphis, TN. She directed women in engineering programs at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Arizona State University and has authored over 30 publications on the topic of girls and women and STEM. Stephanie co-directed Camp Reach at WPI from 2002-2005. She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology in 2000 from Arizona State University.

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Paula Quinn Independent Consultant

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PAULA QUINN is a Research Manager for Education Programs for the Research and Evaluation Unit of the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute. Prior to this, she was an independent Assessment Consultant. Projects she has worked on have focused on K-12 engineering outreach, ethics in engineering education, professional development for K-12 math and science teachers, and literacy development in pre-K children. She received an M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Clark University and a B.A. in Psychology from Case Western Reserve University.

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Elissa Rosenthal Marketing Research Consultant

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ELISSA ROSENTHAL is an independent Marketing Research and Strategy Consultant with clients in education, business and health care. Her expertise and experience include project management, focus group moderating, interviewing and report writing in a variety of subject areas.

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Suzanne Sontgerath Independent Consultant

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SUZANNE SONTGERATH was Program Coordinator for the WPI Office of Diversity & Women's Programs from 2003 to 2005. She is now an independent consultant and maintains an interest in K-12 engineering outreach. She received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from WPI.

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

Long Term Effects of a Middle School Engineering Outreach Program for Girls: A Controlled Study

Abstract

This study compares the high school choices and choice of college major of two groups: young women who participated in the two-week Camp Reach engineering program as rising sixth graders, and those who applied to the program but were not chosen in the random lottery (control group). Results indicate that, in comparison to the control group, Camp Reach participants were significantly more likely to attend a public high school specializing in mathematics and science and also more likely to enroll in elective math and science courses in high school. While a higher fraction of the Camp Reach group chose engineering majors upon college entry, the difference did not reach statistical significance. Grouping all STEM-related majors together, choices of the Camp Reach and control groups were not significantly different. Furthermore, there were no significant differences in the engineering self-efficacy and other measures of efficacy between the Camp Reach and control groups.

Introduction and Background

The crisis of under-representation of women in engineering continues unabated and in fact is projected to be worsening.1,2 Enrollment statistics compiled by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) for the period 1999-2005 show only a small increase in the number of B.S. engineering degrees awarded to women, insufficient to meet workforce demands. Furthermore, the number of women enrolling in engineering programs decreased in the 2004-05 academic year.2 Among a variety of strategies being employed by universities, summer outreach programs for girls and/or other minorities, also referred to as pipeline or intervention programs, are relatively common. In their study of the impact of the National Science Foundation’s Program for Women and Girls,3 Darke, Clewell, and Sevo found evidence that summer camps were “successful in achieving positive change” for girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Still, however, there are key gaps in evaluation of these programs that limit the extent to which their value and cost/benefit proposition can be judged or compared to those of other strategies.

One limitation of existing summative program evaluation is that typically only short-term impacts are measured, comparing pre-program and post-program data on participants’ attitudes about and knowledge of engineering. While widening the pipeline is the fundamental mission of most programs, there is very little knowledge of the extent to which short-term positive effects are sustained and realized over the long term. One conclusion of the review by Darke, Clewell, and Sevo was a call for longitudinal studies2:

There is a need for innovative methods to encourage the assessment of longitudinal outcomes. Many programs are unable to assess the long-term outcomes of their efforts because of the difficulty and expense of collecting outcome data on participants over a period of several years…. The development

Hubelbank, J., & Demetry, C., & Errington Nicholson, S., & Blaisdell, S., & Quinn, P., & Rosenthal, E., & Sontgerath, S. (2007, June), Long Term Effects Of A Middle School Engineering Outreach Program For Girls: A Controlled Study Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2098

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015