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Pushing The Limit: Exposure Of High School Seniors To Engineering Research, Design And Communication

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1213.1 - 12.1213.11



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Paper Authors

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Cameron Coates Armstrong Atlantic State University

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Wayne Johnson Armstrong Atlantic State University

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Chris McCarthy Armstrong Atlantic State University

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

Pushing the Limit: Exposure of High School Seniors to Engineering Research, Design and Communication


There are many engineering summer programs in existence at various universities that have been designed to stimulate interest as well as inform K-12 students about the engineering field. Programs vary from one to ten weeks and may sometimes include a financial incentive. This paper describes and assesses a one-week summer program designed to push the academic and time management limits of students who are already interested in science and engineering. The primary objective is early exposure to research, design and communication with the expectation that all participants in the program will become undergraduates who are motivated to pursue research projects. Other objectives included the successful introduction of advanced concepts to 12th grade students through software; pushing the intellectual pace of these students, who are generally unaccustomed to academic pressure, and the development of the participants’ leadership and teamwork skills. This program distinguishes itself among other summer programs in that it is an accelerated one and it introduces participating students to relatively advanced concepts in applied research, engineering design and communication. Additionally, the program seeks to develop the participants “soft skills” that will be necessary for future team oriented projects and/or leadership practices. The students selected are above average (regionally) and already have a strong interest in science and/or engineering. Assessment measures for the programs primary objectives are implemented in which the student’s future academic activities are monitored. Assessment of the secondary objectives is performed based on immediate feedback from students and parents. Additionally, we describe and assess the methods adopted for the short summer program that introduce advanced concepts in planning, communication and design.


Despite considerable effort from public and private entities dedicated to increasing the number and quality of students enrolled in engineering programs in the United States, the overall numbers continue to decline.1 Additionally, the percentage of women and minorities enrolled and/or retained in engineering programs is still substantially disproportionate in comparison to the percentages within the general population.2. While these numbers are declining, there is an increasing national need to integrate research into the undergraduate engineering curriculum3, 4. Students are recruited nationally and internationally at Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, Georgia, USA; however the majority of students are from local and surrounding counties. The majority of public schools in these areas perform substantially below the regional and national averages in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) areas5. In many cases, local students who are mechanically inclined lack the fundamental mathematical skills necessary for success in an engineering curriculum. These students therefore often opt for the technical track in high school and inevitably choose to pursue post secondary programs that qualify them as technicians or mechanics. While the latter phenomenon is not necessarily a negative one, the lack of local engineering expertise has a strong potential to exacerbate cultural misunderstandings and negatively impact the relationship between local engineering industries have with the community. An increase in the numbers of local students who possess creative and mechanical talent, and are motivated to continue learning beyond the secondary phase, within the


Coates, C., & Johnson, W., & McCarthy, C. (2007, June), Pushing The Limit: Exposure Of High School Seniors To Engineering Research, Design And Communication Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2789

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