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Stimulating K-12 Student Interest through Industry, Engineering College and K-12 School Partnerships

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

K-12 and Pre-College Engineering Poster Session

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1326.1 - 22.1326.8



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Paper Authors

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Janice S. Pawloski Grand Valley State University


Charles R. Standridge Grand Valley State University

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Charles R. Standridge, Ph.D., is the Assistant Dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing at Grand Valley State University. His responsibilities include director of the student services center for advising and K-12 outreach. He holds the masters and Ph.D. degrees in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University as well as the B.S. degree in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from Washington University in St. Louis. His technical interests are in discrete event simulation and the use of operations research/analytics to enhance lean processes. His application efforts focus on economic development and include simulation analysis of transportation systems and alternative energy assessment.

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Paul D. Plotkowski Grand Valley State University

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Paul Plotkowski is the Dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing at Grand Valley State University. Extensively involved in K-12 outreach and experiential education, he is the recipient of the ASEE - CEED Service Award and is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

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Stimulating K-12 Student Interest through Industry, Engineering College and K-12 School PartnershipsAbstractIndustries that employ engineers have an interest in supporting the children of theircommunities through pipeline programs to encourage K-12 students to develop interestand excel in mathematics, science, technology, and engineering. This can beaccomplished by supporting the efforts of local K-12 schools to encourage students topursue careers in STEM fields. We have found that industry often has funding but maylack the knowledge, staff, and other means to effectively work with K-12 schools toaccomplish these STEM education goals.This deficit can be overcome through partnerships with engineering colleges at localinstitutions of higher education. The engineering college has the human resources andskills to support K-12 school STEM education programs. Thus, industry funding can bechanneled through the engineering college, which can provide needed support through K-12 school contact and oversight by engineering faculty, student and teacher mentoringand support by graduate students, and administration of funds. The K-12 schools receivesupport and seed money to build a program that engages students in learning applicationsof science and mathematics as well as participating in competitions with students fromother schools in a fun and stimulating environment. Without such support, theseactivities often would not take place.Results from the application of this model will be presented. A project was funded by thephilanthropic foundation of a large corporation to provide services to K-12 schools instimulating student interest in the STEM fields that the corporation wished to target. Theengineering college and each local K-12 school district worked in partnership todetermine the best way to utilize the funds for maximum benefit in STEM education forthat district. This naturally varied between districts based on the size of the school andthe interest of teachers. In this case, the bulk of the funding directly supported highschools and middle schools for participation in Science Olympiad and FIRST roboticscompetitions.A graduate student was provided to each school, with a stipend and tuition paid from themoney provided by the grant. A faculty member was tasked with maintaining contactwith the schools to assess changing needs and to be a liaison between the engineeringcollege, the schools, and the graduate students.Assessment of the project was based on the impact observed on STEM programs in eachof the K-12 districts supported. This was measured by the student STEM engagementactivities that otherwise would not have occurred. As an example, over the 3 year term ofthe grant, one FIRST robotics team grew from 7 student participants to 27, includingstudents from nearby schools and home-schooled students who would not otherwise havehad the opportunity to be involved.This project can serve as a model for institutions who are interested in creating a pipelineprogram in partnership with their local industry and K-12 communities. The authors willshare our experiences in balancing the interests and needs of the participatingorganizations.

Pawloski, J. S., & Standridge, C. R., & Plotkowski, P. D. (2011, June), Stimulating K-12 Student Interest through Industry, Engineering College and K-12 School Partnerships Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18759

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