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Technical Outreach Community Help: Initial Results

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Attracting Young Minds: Part II

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1414.1 - 22.1414.8



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Paper Authors


Sarah M. Brown National Society of Black Engineers

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Sarah Brown completed a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering at Northeastern University in May 2011 where she was an undergraduate research assistant at the Gordon Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems, a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center. There her research is in computational electromagnetics and modeling of dispersive media. Her interest and experiences with engineering education have stemmed from partnerships with Gordon-CenSSIS and the Center for STEM Education at Northeastern University, as well as involvement with the National Society of Black Engineers. She conducted this work while serving as the 2010 - 2011 Technical Outreach Community Help Chair of the National Society of Black Engineers.

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Lauren D. Thomas Virginia Tech

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Technical Outreach Community Help: Initial ResultsThe National Society of Black Engineers Technical Outreach Community Help (NSBE TORCH)Program aims to provide exposure, stimulate enthusiasm and promote the value of science,technology, engineering and math in Black communities through providing introductory trainingwith the ultimate goal of increasing participation in these fields at all levels. The programoriginated in 2002, and over the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 leadership years the program wasrevised and refined to have clear objectives, clear subcomponents consisting of both informaland formal educational components. The program is organized at a national level andadministered locally in a grassroots fashion. Sample program models and resources are providedto local student leadership for selective implementation with the support of national and regionalstudent leaders. In this paper we examine the program model and the ability to measure impactthrough the grassroots student run organization of the program.We present preliminary data from pilot programs and evaluations from volunteers and local levelleaders of both the program model and the impact of the program. Data collected fromparticipants includes demographics data, efficacy and learning assessments, and evaluations ofthe programs’ content. This data is collected through survey templates provided to local studentleaders, tabulated locally, and returned to the National leadership. Through the pilot studies thedata collection and research methods are verified for their effectiveness in this unique programmodel. This paper will present the program assessment for internal development as well asaddress research questions about engineering students involved in STEM mentoring activities.Finally we present recommendations for developing the program further and a plan for acomprehensive study of the impact of the program. In short term for the students benefitting andlonger term of the mentors and volunteers involved. A research plan and toolkit thataccommodates for this and allows for sample size increases toward significance are derived fromthe pilot results.

Brown, S. M., & Thomas, L. D. (2011, June), Technical Outreach Community Help: Initial Results Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18883

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