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Teaching Fundamentals in Lasers and Light Technology to Advanced Applied Optics in Biology and Biomedical Research: Analyzing the Team-teaching Influence on High School Students’ Perception of and Confidence in STEM

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

PCEE Biomedical Engineering

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Vahideh Abdolazimi Drexel University

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I am a PhD student in Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of Drexel University. I finished my undergraduate and graduate studies in physics. My studies in bachelor was mainly focused on soft condensed matter and complex systems. I worked on a neural network to simulate and model the patterns of spikes in a two and three coupled neural network. In 2012, I joined the Physics program of Stuttgart University joint with Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research and earned my master degree in Germany. My master researched was based on the fabrication and characterization of magnetic metamaterials useful for building up quantum computer devices. I moved to the US in 2016 to study my PhD in electrical engineering. My current research is focused on optoelectronics, fabrication and dynamic analysis of micro-scale light-actuator made of Liquid Crystal Elastomers. I am a fellow of the ExPERT program at Drexel and cooperate with the team as the engineer PhD student.

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Jared Andrew Ruddick School District of Philadelphia

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Jared Ruddick has been teaching high school science At Girard Academic Music Program in South Philadelphia since 2008. During his tenure, he has made strides to better student’s interest in science through educational opportunities provided by partnerships with the Gift of Life Donor Program, Dow Chemical, the University of Pennsylvania, the Wistar Institute, and Drexel University’s GK-12 Program. During the 2015-2016 school year, Jared won the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award and the Harold W. Pote “Behind Every Graduate” Award from Drexel University.

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Jessica S. Ward Drexel University

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Jessica S. Ward serves as the Director of Operations for DragonsTeach and the Program Manager for the Experiential Practices in Education Research and Teaching in STEM (ExPERTS) program. During her tenure at Drexel University, Ms. Ward has successfully coordinated with multiple faculty members in the submission of approximately 600 grant proposals, including co-writing, editing and serving as the Program Manager for 8 awarded STEM education grants totaling more than $13M. She has collaborated with University offices, faculty and staff in the facilitation of recruitment strategies to increase the quality and quantity of undergraduate and graduate enrollment in STEM programs. Ms. Ward now manages the day-to-day operations of the DragonsTeach and ExPERTS programs, including supporting the development of programs of study, student and teacher recruitment, fundraising and grant-writing, hiring and supervising staff and student workers as well as coordinating program evaluation.

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Adam K. Fontecchio Drexel University

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Dr. Adam Fontecchio is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs in the College of Engineering, Co- Director of the A. J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute, an affiliated member of the Materials Engineering Department, and a member of the Center for Educational Research. He is the recipient of a NASA New Investigator Award, the Drexel Graduate Student Association Outstanding Mentor Award, the Drexel University ECE Outstanding Research Achievement Award and the International Liquid Crystal Society Multimedia Prize. In 2003, he received a NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship to research NEMS/MEMS adaptive optics in the Microdevices Laboratory at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Dr. Fontecchio received his Ph.D. in Physics from Brown University in 2002. He has authored more than 75 peer-reviewed publications.

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Richard Edward Giduck Drexel University

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Laser and light technology has the potential to be the science milestone of the century. The essential use of light and laser technology in designing revolutionary devices such as quantum computers, optogenetic tools, and biomimicking light-actuator microrobots represent the inspiration behind this vision. Therefore, running classroom activities followed by advanced lectures around multidisciplinary research and innovation in optics could serve as an excellent contextual vehicle for increasing K-12 student perception of and confidence in some areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In this work, we present a project facilitated in a high school biology classroom during the academic year by a team of ExPERTS (Experiential Practices in Education Research and Teaching in STEM) composed of an engineering Ph.D. student, a biology undergraduate student, and a high school Biology teacher. The team introduces laser and light technology topics related to biological and biomedical applications to high school students through inquiry-based Modules (including associated introductions, activities and assessments) with the goal of increasing student confidence in and understanding of the use of optics in STEM applications.

Results and connections of pre- and post-surveys for each module implemented will be presented.

Abdolazimi, V., & Ruddick, J. A., & Ward, J. S., & Fontecchio, A. K., & Giduck, R. E. (2018, June), Teaching Fundamentals in Lasers and Light Technology to Advanced Applied Optics in Biology and Biomedical Research: Analyzing the Team-teaching Influence on High School Students’ Perception of and Confidence in STEM Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31051

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