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Re-assessing the Effects of Summer Camp on STEM Enrollments Using an Innovative Survey Strategy

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Out-of-School and Informal Activities

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1097.1 - 25.1097.13



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Paper Authors


Gary L. Winn West Virginia University

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Gary Winn is Co-PI on a five-year NSF STEP-1 project at West Virginia University. His research team has been active investigating the effects of STEM recruitment strategies on enrollments of Appalachian students into STEM fields, particularly engineering.

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Re-assessing the Effects of Summer Camp on STEM Enrollments Using an Innovative Survey Strategy AbstractThe Engineers of Tomorrow (EoT) program at West Virginia University (WVU), aNational Science Foundation (NSF) supported STEP 1 project*, works to increase highschool students’ knowledge of and motivation toward science, technology, engineering,and mathematics (STEM) educational and career paths. Summer camps are offered inmany NSF STEP 1 projects, but difficulties keeping track of summer camp participantsin college or major are well known. At WVU, we knew when EoT summer campers laterenrolled in engineering, but we had no good way of tracking those who enrolled in non-engineering STEM fields or in STEM fields at other universities. In this survey research,we contacted EoT summer camp alumni (2007-2011) via social media using a personalinvitation to participate in the survey that came from an undergraduate engineeringstudent who was familiar to the campers; this method is consonant with a research modelwe have established over the past 3 years. The invitation asked about how campimpacted their pursuit of postsecondary education and enrollment in STEM educationalpaths. Findings from this survey then were used to adjust our previous STEM fieldenrollment rate data and to better understand the effect that summer camp has had onrecruitment into other STEM fields. Preliminary survey data suggest that the number ofstudents who enroll in STEM-related postsecondary education after attending EoTsummer camp is significantly higher than originally estimated. Innovative methods forongoing tracking of summer camp participants are critical to understanding the fullimpact of NSF STEP 1 projects such as ours.Keywords: recruitment, retention, STEM, engineering* Acknowledgement and Disclaimer:“This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0525484. Any opinions,findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarilyreflect the views of the National Science Foundation.”

Winn, G. L. (2012, June), Re-assessing the Effects of Summer Camp on STEM Enrollments Using an Innovative Survey Strategy Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21854

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