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Project Oriented K-12 Programs in Rural South

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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

CIP Technical Session

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.993.1 - 23.993.12



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Paper Authors


Atin K Sinha Albany State University

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Dr. Atin Sinha is the professor and coordinator of the Engineering Program at Albany State University. He received his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Tennessee Space Institute in 1984. He had worked in Learjet and Honeywell before moving to academia in1990. He is a Registered Professional Engineer. Currently, he is engaged in motivating undergraduate engineering students in inquiry based learning through hands-on, realistic projects. He is also involved in various outreach activities with K-12 students.

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Project Oriented K-12 Programs in Rural SouthThe University located in rural south is conducting a series of programs targeting K-12 studentsfor a decade with the intention of motivating them towards engineering careers. Each of theseprograms have shown varying degrees of success in attracting high and middle school studentsby engaging them in after hours project oriented activities.Earliest amongst these are the Saturday Engineering Workshops for high school students thatstarted in 2001 where students participate in daylong, hands-on project activities in programmingMindstorms robots, manufacturing parts in CNC machine, getting exposed to wind tunnelexperimentation and part designing in SolidWorks CAD software including 3D printing. Theworkshops were attended by the students from both the local schools districts and those fromoutlying counties as well as home schooled students.Next, a model balsa wood bridge building contest is held every February since 2003, celebratingthe National Engineers Week for middle and high school students. This became the most popularevent attracting students from the entire southwestern region of the state covering multipleschool districts. Students participate in teams of 2 or 3 representing their schools to winindividual prizes and championship trophy for their school. The bridge contest is organized andjudged by the members of an Advisory Board consisting of practicing engineers from the localindustry.Lastly, a Computing Summer Camp, which started in 2008, where a carefully selected group ofhigh achieving middle school students from the local school district work in Alice and Scratchanimation software and Nxt programmable robots for an entire week during their summer break.Collectively these activities covering multiple school districts have generated considerableinterest and excitement among the predominantly underrepresented students and their parentsabout engineering careers in this region. Though it is not possible to track everyone’s progress,some students who participated in one of these programs have moved on to join engineeringprograms in various universities. All of these programs have been funded by a continuing grantfrom NASA’s STEM engagement, Office of Education.

Sinha, A. K. (2013, June), Project Oriented K-12 Programs in Rural South Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22378

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