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Reflections on a new community partnership: How does an engineering summer camp evolve to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population? (WIP)

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

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Paper Authors


Emily E. Liptow California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Emily Liptow currently works at a tech startup accelerator in Cleveland OH where she manages a coworking space and promotes community and diversity in the city's entrepreneurship ecosystem. She served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo where she was involved with a variety of diversity and inclusion efforts in the College of Engineering ranging from student support programs, faculty bias awareness trainings, and inclusive cultural change. Prior to her work at Cal Poly, received a B.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University, where she was also very involved with social justice initiatives.

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Katherine C. Chen Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Dr. Katherine C. Chen is the Executive Director of the STEM Education Center at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). Her degrees in Materials Science and Engineering are from Michigan State University and MIT. Her research interests include pre-college engineering education and equity in education.

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Berizohar Padilla Cerezo

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Maria Manzano California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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EPIC (Engineering Possibilities in College) is a week-long summer camp designed to encourage middle and high school students to consider pursuing engineering in college. Since it first began in 2007 with 111 students, it has grown to serve over 600 students with four one-week sessions. Recently EPIC partnered with the Migrant Education Program, a federal program that provides academic support to children of migrant workers in agriculture, diary, or fishing industries. For the past two summers, MEP students have made up 50% of the middle school week. Though EPIC has always focused on attracting and engaging a diverse set of students, EPIC was not originally designed to meet the specific needs of MEP students. MEP students typically experience frequent relocation as their parents find work, and for many students, English is their second language. Furthermore, the students may have been placed in the camp versus selecting it for themselves, and for most students, it was their first experience at an overnight camp. In our attempt to ensure a positive EPIC experience for all campers, we provided an inclusivity training for camp counselors and lab instructors. We also translated some camp materials in Spanish, and many of the EPIC counselors and staff members were bilingual.

With this work-in-progress paper, we plan to share our reflections and lessons learned, and we hope to gain feedback from the engineering education community. We will present the steps taken in preparation for the MEP students, and examine how effective those steps were. Preliminary data from pre/post surveys will be presented to help us highlight what went well during EPIC and areas for improvement.

We consider a few important questions: How does an engineering summer camp evolve to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population? How can the observations and experiences of the EPIC staff, counselors, and instructors help improve the camp? What are the essential steps needed to achieve our goals of being inclusive? What are the lessons learned that could help others with similar programs adapt to broaden their participation?

Liptow, E. E., & Chen, K. C., & Padilla Cerezo, B., & Manzano, M. (2018, June), Reflections on a new community partnership: How does an engineering summer camp evolve to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population? (WIP) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30926

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