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Synthesis of K-12 outreach data on women in engineering

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Emily Barnes Rowan University

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Emily Barnes is an undergraduate student of Rowan University's Engineering Program. She has a focus in Chemical Engineering. As a participant in various outreach programs throughout the years, she has gained an interest in their structures and effectiveness in recruiting women to join Engineering fields. She selected engineering as her major after gained excitement from college courses in advanced Mathematics and Chemistry.

She hopes to continue her education in Chemical Engineering in Graduate School and one day participate in outreach programs as a working Professional Engineer.

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Nicholas Lenzi


Katherine G Nelson Rowan University

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Katie just recently finished a postdoc at ASU and is currently working as temporary faculty int he college of engineering at Rowan University. Her research interests include complexity learning, cognition, and motivation.

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In response to calls from the National Academies, numerous government agencies, and industry to increase female interest and engagement in STEM fields, academic and non-academic groups have rallied to meet that call. The popular approach is outreach programs, programs on both a local or national stage that are sponsored by educational institutions, industry, NGOs, and local, state, and federal government. Numerous studies have been published regarding the success of these programs in terms of academic performance- AP, SAT, ACT scores, and overall effects on GPA. Many programs also measure female student interest development as a result of engagement in the outreach program. Even though we have a general idea about the diversity, engagement, and focus of these programs, the multitude and variety of outreach combined with the way in which findings (and what kind of findings) are presented makes it so that the outcomes of these programs and their benefits to women vary greatly from one another. This study seeks to compile the findings of these existing studies and systematically synthesize them to provide a better understanding of K-12 Engineering specific outreach programs in the United States today. More specifically, it consists of a literature review which examines current engineering focused outreach programs and their success in garnering and maintaining female student motivation for pursuing an engineering career. In addition, inclusiveness and gender identity aspects of outreach programs are compared to both the programs’ mission statements and approach of outreach to determine whether or not a higher level relationship exists. Ultimately, the synthesized data collected from this study should demonstrate how effective these programs are, what gains have been made, and what holes need to be plugged. It is our intent to use this synthesized approach to understanding engineering outreach programs for K-12 females to best understand how to motivate girls and young women to pursue an engineering field in college and beyond.

Barnes , E., & Lenzi, N., & Nelson, K. G. (2017, June), Synthesis of K-12 outreach data on women in engineering Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28898

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