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Purdue Mission to Mars: Recruiting High School Students to a Polytechnic College

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Student Recruitment and Retention in ET Programs and Labs in ET Programs

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Matthew Turner Purdue University (Statewide Technology)

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Dr. Matthew Turner is an Assistant Professor of ECET at Purdue University New Albany where he teaches courses in power systems and controls. Prior to joining the faculty at Purdue, Professor Turner worked as a researcher at the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research in the area of power and energy systems, with a focus on smart grid implementation and computer modeling. Dr. Turner's current research concentrates on demand response technologies and the application of novel teaching and learning methods to power engineering education.

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Rustin Webster Purdue University, New Albany

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Dr. Rustin Webster is a visiting assistant professor at Purdue University. He teaches within the Purdue Polytechnic Institute and the department of engineering technology. He specializes in mechanical engineering and computer graphics technology. Prior to joining Purdue, Dr. Webster worked in the Department of Defense field for over 7 years as an engineer, project manager, and research. His specialization was in mechanical design, research and development, and business development. He studied at Murray State University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham where his research was on immersive virtual learning environments for educational training purposes. Furthermore, Dr. Webster has received various professional certifications from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, SolidWorks Corporation, the Project Management Institute, and NACE International.

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Danielle Reynolds

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Timothy Cooley Purdue University New Albany


Andrew McCart Purdue Polytechnic

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Continuing Lecturer of Organizational Leadership.

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Joseph F Dues Jr. Purdue Polytechnic New Albany

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This paper presents the development and implementation of an integrative half-day recruiting event targeting high school students that combines elements of four degree programs: Organizational Leadership, Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Computer Graphics Technology. During the workshop, students engage in active learning: NAME REDACTED is transformed into an aerospace design think tank and high school students are transformed into Polytechnic interns. The interns are then presented with a challenge: A new form of bacteria has possibly been identified on Mars and soil samples must be collected for analysis. However, the next shuttle launch is in 3 hours and the robotic equipment has to be ready! Student teams work with faculty mentors to design, test, and retest robots that can navigate the surface of Mars and collect a soil sample for analysis. Through this integrative experience, students work in teams to learn and apply new skills in leadership, engineering technology, and computer graphics. The impact of the recruitment event is assessed via pre and post surveys of students’ attitudes towards the degree options based on Likert style assessments.

Turner, M., & Webster, R., & Reynolds, D., & Cooley, T., & McCart , A., & Dues, J. F. (2016, June), Purdue Mission to Mars: Recruiting High School Students to a Polytechnic College Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26017

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