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Robotics Competition and Family Science Fair for Grades 4-8 Sponsored by the Latino-STEM Alliance

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Out-of-school-time Engineering: Implications for Underrepresented Students

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

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Paper Authors


Lisa Shatz Suffolk University

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Professor of Electrical Engineering, Suffolk University
PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
BS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Kerrie Pieloch Suffolk University

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Kerrie Pieloch is a clinical psychology Ph.D. candidate at Suffolk University. She received her Masters of Science in clinical psychology in May of 2015. Her clinical work focuses on developmental psychopathology with underserved populations. She is the co-PI for an NSF grant which provides scholarships and career counseling to engineering students at Suffolk University. Her role in the project is to assess career development trajectories for the scholarship students, create program evaluations, collect assessment data and disseminate information to the STEM community.

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Emily Shamieh Latino-STEM Alliance

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Emily Shamieh, Latino-STEM Alliance

Emily Shamieh is a leader of the Latino-STEM Alliance. She has spent over 30 years as a bilingual educator, including 19 years as an Elementary School principal, plus another 7 years as a Budget Director & Assistant Commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

During her career, Ms. Shamieh has been active on a number of organizations, including having most recently served as a Board Member for the Boston Educational Development Foundation (BEDF), the nonprofit fiscal agent for the Boston Public Schools. At BEDF she worked to help the organization fulfill both its fiduciary responsibility to donors as well as to develop systems to make it operate more efficiently for the principals and program managers who have raised funds deposited for specific uses in BEDF.

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A robotics competition and family science fair was held in June 2015 in an inner city neighborhood in Boston sponsored by the Latino STEM Alliance (LSA), for students in grades 4-8 and their families to promote engineering to students from underrepresented groups. The LSA partners with schools, private industry, community groups, and academia to bring STEM experiences to underserved youth who otherwise would not have such an opportunity. The LSA saw that existing robotics competitions were not available to underserved youths and therefore decided to hold a year-end competition to motivate the participants. The robotics competition was the culmination of the students’ year-long effort in the designing, building, programming, and debugging their teams’ robots. The family science fair was used to make families aware of the many STEM resources in Boston as well as to pique their interest in STEM. Engaging families is a priority of the LSA in order to encourage parents to advocate for STEM offerings in schools, as well to encourage the parents, who are often very young, to consider STEM education and career pathways for themselves. Another key feature of this event was the participation of NSF SSTEM electrical engineering scholars from XXX University, who are graduates of Boston Public High Schools and who students are predominantly of color themselves. These students engaged the fair participants in hands-on experiments about energy and electricity and served role models for the participants and their families. Surveys of the student attendees as well as some of the presenters were performed to assess various measures of self-efficacy. Surveys indicated that the event was successful in promoting self-efficacy.

Shatz, L., & Pieloch, K., & Shamieh, E. (2016, June), Robotics Competition and Family Science Fair for Grades 4-8 Sponsored by the Latino-STEM Alliance Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26117

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