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Systematic Approach to Diversifying Botswana’s STEM Population

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

International STEM Education: International Division Technical Session 6

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Cameron Denson North Carolina State University

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Cameron Denson is an associate professor of Technology and Engineering Design Education (TDE) in the Dept. of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education at N.C. State University.

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Tamecia R. Jones North Carolina State University Orcid 16x16

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Tamecia Jones is an assistant professor in the STEM Education Department at North Carolina State University College of Education with a research focus on K-12 engineering education, assessment, and informal and formal learning environments. She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins, Stanford, and Purdue University. Originally trained as a biomedical engineer, she spent years in the middle school classroom, teaching math and science, and consulting with nonprofits, museums, and summer programs.

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On October 1st, 2016 Botswana formed the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology with the explicitly stated goal of transforming Botswana from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy. In order to achieve this goal Botswana has to contend with two major factors; One is the improved teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics content (STEM) content (Kennedy & Odell, 2014) and the other factor is the lack of women participants in STEM careers for Botswana (Koketso, 2015). With its combination of economic success and social development unique to many African states, Botswana has been hailed as an African developmental state (Hillbom, 2011). Consequently, Botswana lays claim to the continent’s oldest continuous democracy and boasts one of the world’s fastest growing economies. These factors contribute to a political and social environment conducive to technological advances and entrepreneurial opportunities. Yet, Botswana has continued to struggle in creating a robust STEM professional population with women in particular being seriously underrepresented (Koketso, 2015).

In order to address these issues, North Carolina State University’s Department of STEM Education recently formed a partnership with Botswana to meet these stated challenges.This work-in-progress reports on a developing international collaborative research project between Botswana and North Carolina State University's Department of STEM Education. This paper will highlight the latest civilian-to-civilian strategic engagements between North Carolina and Botswana as part of the U.S. Department of Defense’s State Partnership Program. The Department of STEM Education participated as a delegate in the program, along with North Carolina’s National Guard, Department of Transportation, and Department of Public Instruction. The result of this meeting included forming a burgeoning research collaborative that will culminate in the submission of a grant proposal to the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE solicitation. The goals of this research project align with ADVANCE’s mission which seeks to create a more diverse and equitable engineering workforce (, 2019).

Denson, C., & Jones, T. R. (2020, June), Systematic Approach to Diversifying Botswana’s STEM Population Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35264

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