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Recruiting via Creation of STEM Solutions to Societal Problems

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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

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Alka R Harriger Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Alka Harriger joined the faculty of the Computer and Information Technology Department (CIT) in 1982 and is currently a Professor of CIT. For the majority of that time, she has been actively involved in teaching software development courses. From 2008-2014, she led the NSF-ITEST funded SPIRIT (Surprising Possibilities Imagined and Realized through Information Technology) project. Since October 2013, she has been co-leading with Prof. Brad Harriger the NSF-ITEST funded TECHFIT (Teaching Engineering Concepts to Harness Future Innovators and Technologists) project. Professor Harriger's current interests include application development, outreach to K-12 to interest more students to pursue computing careers, applying IT skills to innovating fitness tools, and wearable computing.

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Bradley C. Harriger Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Brad Harriger has over 30 years of experience teaching automated manufacturing and has authored/co-authored several related articles. Professor Harriger has served in several leadership roles with Society of Manufacturing Engineers and the American Society for Engineering Education, and is a founding member of an international Aerospace Automation Consortium, serving on its steering committee for several years. He has invested over twenty-five years in the development and maintenance of a multimillion dollar manufacturing laboratory facility complete with a full scale, fully integrated manufacturing system. Professor Harriger has been a Co-PI on two NSF funded grants focused on aerospace manufacturing education and is currently a Co-PI on the NSF funded TECHFIT project, a middle school afterschool program that teaches students how to use programmable controllers and other technologies to design exercise games. Additionally, he co-organizes multiple regional automation competitions for an international controls company.

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Susan Marie Flynn College of Charleston

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Susan Flynn works in the School of Education, Health and Human Performance at The College of Charleston. She is training students’ in early childhood and elementary teacher education providing future educators with the skills and knowledge to infuse health and movement in the classroom. Prior to The College of Charleston, Flynn taught at Purdue University in Indiana for twelve years in the Department of Health and Kinesiology. She specializes in the areas of Adapted Physical Education; Fitness Education and Action-Based Learning. Flynn taught in the public schools outside of Toledo, Ohio as an Adapted Physical Education Specialist and in Maryland as a Special Education Teacher. More recently, she has been providing teachers the knowledge and skills to teach their students how to use technology to enhance fitness through the TECHFIT program.

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Michael G Flynn College of Charleston

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Flynn has a PhD in human bioenergetics and a 30 year career of teaching and research in exercise physiology. Flynn has authored or co-authored over 80 refereed manuscripts and book chapters. He has received grants from NIH , American Heart Association, NSF and the American College of sports medicine.

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The literature is replete with studies that share many reasons why students, particularly women and minorities, choose specific fields of study. At or near the top of these reasons is a desire to help people/society…to make a (positive) difference in the world. The Teaching Engineering Concepts to Harness Future Innovators and Technologists (TECHFIT) project uses this approach to teach teams of middle school teachers how a combination of STEM skills can enable them to envision, design, and implement technology-supported fitness games with the goal of increasing physical activity. The teachers, in turn, manage and deliver an afterschool program at their schools to teach their students how to combine STEM skills and use supplied technology to innovate exergames.

The paper and presentation will share details about the content of the TECHFIT program as well as share a sampling of the exergames created by teacher teams and student teams. Anecdotal feedback that describes TECHFIT’s impact on both groups will be shared as well.

Harriger, A. R., & Harriger, B. C., & Flynn, S. M., & Flynn, M. G. (2016, June), Recruiting via Creation of STEM Solutions to Societal Problems Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26055

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