June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.1177.1 - 11.1177.11
Summer Camps in Engineering Technology: Lessons Learned
Abstract There is mounting evidence that a nationwide shortage of qualified high-tech workers will jeopardize the economic future of the United States. It is also well established that a more proactive approach must be taken to nurture the intellectual development of underrepresented groups so that the pool of scientists and engineers expands to include more women, minorities, and persons with disabilities.
This paper will provide a summary of the concepts, strategies, implementation and lessons learned from the first two years of the high school summer camps that are a component of the NSF funded Diversity in Engineering Technology project1, 2. These camps, which incorporate instruction and hands-on activities for each of the disciplines housed in the Engineering Technology Department (Civil, Electrical, Fire Safety and Mechanical), involve high school students in an intensive week-long program on the UNC Charlotte campus and show them that engineering and engineering technology can be fun and rewarding. Significant participation by traditionally underrepresented groups in engineering and engineering technology has been targeted and successfully achieved. Throughout the camp and afterwards, students provide candid feedback about each of the activities, what they liked and disliked, and what they thought we could do better. The camps have been very well received during the first two years, with many students returning, the word-of-mouth advertising by student participants telling their friends of the program overwhelming available space, and last year’s campers returning as counselors.
In addition to anecdotal evidence, exit surveys will be utilized to explain what works and what could be improved with respect to student participation in a technically oriented camp-like atmosphere. We will offer a dynamic discussion of the lessons learned to date from this experience, a description of the changes we will establish for future offerings, and how the summer camps are an integral part of the highly successful Diversity in Engineering Technology project.
Introduction White female, African American, Latino, and Native American high school students traditionally have had little encouragement or have exhibited little interest in pursuing careers related to engineering or engineering technology3. Although they do not realize it, these students are depriving themselves of many technical and scientific career choices, as well as access to high salaried occupations4.
In 1995, women made up about 46 percent of the U.S. labor force but only about 9 percent of the engineering labor force5. Although women currently comprise 52 percent of high school graduates who enroll in four-year colleges in the United States, they consist of only 17 percent of college freshmen that choose engineering as an academic major6. African Americans make up
Kuyath, S., & Sharer, D. (2006, June), Summer Camps In Engineering Technology: Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--294
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