June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
15.1102.1 - 15.1102.19
Strengthening the Engineering Pipeline One Field and One Woman at a Time: The Role of a Single-Discipline, Single-Sex Engineering Camp
The shortage of women in technology-related education programs has led to a national shortage of workers, costing the high tech industry an estimated $4 billion a year (CCAWMSETD, 2000). Consequently, the field of chemical engineering parallels this trend. In 2002, 16.5% of chemical engineers in the workplace were women (U.S. Department of Labor, 2002). In light of the escalating need to increase the number of women in chemical engineering, The Ohio State University’s Women in Engineering program (WiE) offered its first single-discipline pre-college summer program, CheME & YOU @ OSU.
CheME & YOU @ OSU is a six-day, residential camp for rising ninth-grade girls designed to introduce young women to chemical engineering. By focusing specifically on the need for more women in the chemical engineering pipeline, CheME & YOU @ OSU moved away from the traditional multi-discipline engineering camp to a single-discipline camp. As a result, the focal point of this paper is the development and assessment of a single-discipline engineering camp. First, the authors discuss the content, goals, and structure of a single-discipline engineering camp and the need for assessment tools that collect immediately useful data as well as data to produce meaningful program evaluations over the long term. Next, the paper provides a summary of the development and implementation of the four assessment tools (i.e., pre-camp student questionnaire, activity evaluation cards, post-camp student questionnaire, and post-camp parent/guardian questionnaire) used for the camp. Drawing on the data collected during Year 1 of CheME & YOU @ OSU, this paper reports results on attitudes toward and awareness about chemical engineering. Lastly, the paper concludes with a discussion of the prevalence of single- discipline engineering pre-college summer programs and the role that this type of program currently plays in the growth and development of the engineering pipeline at the authors’ home institution.
In the U.S., the economic growth, military capabilities, and living standards depend heavily on innovation, science, and technology1. To advance further in these areas and to thrive in a global economy, the U.S. will have to rely on engineers and companies to develop innovative and high value-added products and services, as well as improve productivity through the use of technology-based tools. While other countries such as China, India, and Singapore produce twice as many engineers as the U.S., there are currently over 300,000+ U.S. technology-related jobs that remain vacant due to the lack of qualified workers. This discrepancy highlights the country’s urgent need for a stronger engineering pipeline if the U.S. is to remain competitive in the global markets.
Given that engineering jobs are among the hardest to fill in the U.S., the demand for qualified engineers far exceeds supply2. To address this shortage, many educators, researchers, and
Artis, S., & Friedman, R., & LaRue, G. (2010, June), Strengthening The Engineering Pipeline One Field And One Woman At A Time: The Role Of Single Discipline, Single Sex Engineering Camps In The U.S Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16469
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