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Recruiting Engineering Students Into K 12 Teaching

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Teacher and Counselor Professional Development

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1019.1 - 15.1019.11



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Paper Authors


Beth Spencer Georgia Institute of Technology

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Ms. Beth Spencer is the Director of Pre-Teaching at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Pre-Teaching Advisor. She received her B.A. in History from the University of Georgia.

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Donna Llewellyn Georgia Institute of Technology

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Dr. Donna C. Llewellyn is the Director of the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) and an adjunct associate professor in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her
current areas of research are in equity of engineering education and assessment of instruction. Donna is a co-PI on the Tech to Teaching grant.

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Marion Usselman Georgia Institute of Technology

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Dr. Marion C. Usselman is Associate Director for Academic Outreach at the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Marion received her Ph.D. in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University and taught biology at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She focuses on equity and access issues in education and K-12 educational reform. Marion is a co-PI of the Tech to Teaching grant.

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

Recruiting Engineering Students into K-12 Teaching


The Georgia Institute of Technology, a Research Extensive institution located in the center of Atlanta, has a historic mission to create new knowledge and to train students in technological fields. Regulations put forth by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, specifically prohibit Georgia Tech from having a College of Education, so there is no unit on campus with the mission of teaching students about pedagogy, or preparing them for a career in education. Further, there has been a historic institutional paradigm that equates success with placement of Georgia Tech graduates in technical or research positions. However Georgia is in dire need of more well trained STEM teachers to better prepare students to matriculate into

colleges. There is a strategic imperative for Georgia Tech to promote teaching as a valued career goal and to support those STEM majors who wish to pursue a career in teaching in the K 12 arena. As part of a new, campus-wide initiative, supported by the NSF, Georgia Tech has implemented a series of activities to promote careers in K-12 teaching, and has set up the infrastructure to track and evaluate these initiatives. This paper will describe the initiatives implemented so far, the types of road blocks encountered, and the numbers of students entering teaching from various engineering fields. Our goal is to change the perceptions among students, faculty and administrators at Georgia Tech; to promote K-12 teaching as a career option for all students, including entering freshmen; and ultimately to help produce 30-50 high school science and math teachers per year. This would make Georgia Tech one of the largest producers of high school STEM teachers in the state.


engineering internship I know I want to be a high school science teacher. Lydia, a junior majoring in Civil Engineering, had been secretly considering teaching for some time, but had felt torn since she was at Georgia Tech an and had worked hard to earn her 3.8 GPA. Everyone her professors, parents, and peers expected her to be an engineer. She had done well in her engineering internships and knew she could land a good engineering job, but she confided concern that an engineering job might not be the best fit for her interests and career goals. Teaching was something she had always considered when she was younger since she enjoyed studying math and science, and had positive role models in her own high school teachers. She liked working with teenagers and imagined herself coaching a high school softball team. Previous generations of Georgia Tech students would have found themselves with no institutional infrastructure to support and encourage these new career goals. Thanks to a new initiative, Tech to Teaching, students like Lydia have somewhere to turn.

Since 2004, Georgia Tech has been steadily developing a program to advise, mentor, encourage and provide academic programming for students interested in K-12 teaching. Because the Institute is bound by University System of Georgia Board of Regents regulations that specifically prohibit Georgia Tech from developing state-approved K-12 teacher certification programs,

Spencer, B., & Llewellyn, D., & Usselman, M. (2010, June), Recruiting Engineering Students Into K 12 Teaching Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16402

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015