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Model for Undergraduate Outreach Project Involving Community Engagement

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

The D/M/A of CE

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.909.1 - 23.909.12



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Paper Authors

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Joshua M Frey Elizabethtown College

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Sara A. Atwood Elizabethtown College

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Model for Undergraduate Outreach Project Involving Community Engagement The United States needs more engineers in order to meet the demands of our economyand workforce. To spark interest in engineering and engage the community, undergraduateengineering students enrolled in a Strength of Materials course were required to create andimplement an outreach activity. The activity was designed to engage the students in anengineering concept while also learning what engineers do and the broad scope of engineering.Working with students one morning at the local middle school with hands on activities, theundergraduates presented concepts of buoyancy, electricity, strength of materials, andmechanics. The middle school students were asked to fill out a survey designed to gauge theirperceptions of engineering before the activities began. In addition, the undergraduates weregiven an open ended reflection framed as a “What happened?” “So what does it mean?” and“Now what will you do?” prompt. The responses were coded and tallied. The middle school students showed they havestereotypes about what an engineer does. When asked to draw an engineer, students drew males(77%), tools (63%), and hardhats/caps (32%). Thirty-six percent of the students did not know anengineer; of those that did, 74% were males. A majority of undergraduates (66%) believed thatthe outreach program was successful in sparking interest in the middle school students.Undergraduates were also enthusiastic about continuing outreach projects after graduation (77%)and were invited back by the middle school teachers for future outreach activities. This project formed an important link between the college and the community. Thisrelationship will lead to more opportunities for future outreach projects and a moreknowledgeable community on engineering. In addition, this outreach project exposed theundergraduates to the demand for more engineers and encourages them to continue outreach incommunity.

Frey, J. M., & Atwood, S. A. (2013, June), Model for Undergraduate Outreach Project Involving Community Engagement Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22294

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