June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Minorities in Engineering
15.1103.1 - 15.1103.12
Strengthening the K-20 Engineering Pipeline for Underrepresented Minorities
As the National Academy of Engineers (NAE) report on Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering revealed, there is a public misconception of engineers particularly among minorities.1, 2 The study reported that Hispanic boys in general believe that engineering has a positive effect on people’s everyday lives but Hispanic girls believe that engineers are nerdy and boring. At California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA), a designated Hispanic Serving Institution, these findings are born out in the classroom where the overwhelming majority of Hispanic engineering students are male. Furthermore, while some Hispanic engineering undergraduates opt to pursue a master’s degree, very few pursue a doctoral degree.3
The IMPACT LA Program, Improving Minority Partnerships and Access through CISE (Computer & Information Science & Engineering)-related Teaching, is an NSF Graduate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Fellows in K-12 Education Program designed to address these concerns. The program partners graduate fellows who are conducting master’s level research in a CISE-related field with a middle or high school teacher from the East Los Angeles area. Fellows work closely with teachers to develop hands-on activities designed to enhance the educational experience of students and increase their interest in STEM-related fields. The NAE study found that female students in particular relate well to role models, and thus, the program actively and successfully recruited women and minorities graduate fellows for its second year. Of the nine fellows 44% are women and 56% are Hispanic.
The two primary goals of the IMPACT LA Program are to 1) change teachers, students, and parents’ perceptions of engineers and encourage K-12 students to explore engineering and research careers, and 2) to enhance the communication and research skills of graduate fellows. To achieve these goals, during the summer workshop teachers participate in a wide range of exploratory research experiences designed by fellows to introduce teachers to their research areas. During the school year fellows expose students to their research in different ways including informal research discussions, videos showing fellows conducting their research, and by infusing research into hands-on activities.
In addition to trying to get more minority students into the engineering pipeline through our partnerships with East LA schools, MESA (Math, Engineering, Science Achievement), Great Minds in STEM (formerly HENAAC), and industry, the IMPACT LA program is working to strengthen the pipeline by recruiting minority undergraduate students from CSULA and other
Warter-Perez, N., & Dong, J., & Kang, E., & Guo, H., & Castillo, M., & Abramyan, A., & Moo-Young, K. (2010, June), Strengthening The K 20 Engineering Pipeline For Underrrepresented Minorities Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16505
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