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Techstep: Connecting High School Teachers And Students To Integrated Engineering And Science

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

K-12 Engineering Outreach Programs

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1193.1 - 13.1193.9



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Paper Authors


Kelly Crittenden Louisiana Tech University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Kelly Crittenden received his BS and PhD in BioMedical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University in 1996 and 2001 respectively. He is often involved in multidisciplinary work at Louisiana Tech, either through the Integrated Engineering Curriculum or through the IMPaCT (Innovation through Multidisciplinary Projects and Collaborative Teams) program. He is also very involved in STEM education at both the pre-college and college levels.

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James Nelson Louisiana Tech University

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Dr. Jim Nelson is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies for the College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University. He is also the Robert Howson Professor of Civil Engineering and specializes in water resources. He played a key role in establishing Louisiana Tech’s Integrated Engineering Curriculum and now focuses primarily on STEM education research.

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Galen Turner Louisiana Tech University

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Dr. Galen Turner III is the Maxfield Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Louisiana Tech University. He received his B.S. from Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1992 with majors in Mathematics and Religious Studies. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mathematics from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, in 1994 and 1999 respectively. His current research is in the area of graph minors and computational mathematics as related to a number of interdisciplinary areas of study. In addition to research collaboration, Dr. Turner has served as an educational consultant for centers in Texas and Louisiana.

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Alicia Boudreaux Louisiana Tech University

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Alicia Boudreaux works as the Student Success Specialist at LA Tech University's College of Engineering & Science. She advises and supports students, helping to connect them to resources across campus. She also visits with prospective students and their families about the undergraduate engineering and science programs. She has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from LA Tech University and an M.S. in Educational Administration from Baylor University.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

TechSTEP: Connecting High School Teachers and Students to Integrated Engineering and Science Abstract

TechSTEP is an NSF-funded program developed by the mathematics, science and engineering faculty of our College. The primary goal is to motivate students to consider mathematics, science, and engineering majors in college. Faculty members from the College of Engineering and Science have teamed up with area high school teachers to develop engaging projects aimed at high school juniors and seniors. These projects utilize techniques that have proven successful in our Integrated Engineering and Science Curricula, including team building, collaborative learning, and hands-on activities. Close collaboration between college faculty and high school teachers maximizes the benefit to students by having both their regular teachers and university faculty directly involved in their projects. This team approach involving both high school and university teachers and the integration of topics sets our project apart from the more traditional high school weekend science camps. TechSTEP also serves as a model for the students by effectively demonstrating how diverse teams can often provide better solutions to problems. Moreover, the relationships that are built between the high school and university faculty will have a long-term impact on all students influenced by these high school teachers.

TechSTEP consists of three distinct projects which are delivered on a three-year cycle. These projects are each centered on a common theme which connects high school level math and science to engineering. Each year’s theme showcases a topic that encompasses engineering concepts, as well as team skills, creative problem solving, and career exploration. These themes serve as good applications of algebra and trigonometry, are very hands-on and intuitive, give an excellent introduction to engineering design, and easily lead to a design competition. The projects pique student interest and show the importance and relevance of both mathematics and science.

Introduction and Background

According to the National Science Board’s Science and Engineering Indicators 2004, enrollment in undergraduate engineering and science programs decreased sharply during the 1980s, followed by slower declines in the 1990s.1 Since 2000, enrollment numbers have begun to increase again; but the report also indicates that, of those students who do enroll in engineering and science programs, fewer than 50% earn an engineering or science degree within six years. Clearly, there is a continued need for increased enrollment and retention in science and engineering. In The Science and Engineering Workforce: Realizing America’s Potential, the Board strongly recommends national-level action to provide an adequate number of science and engineering graduates to ensure competitiveness in the ever changing global economy (NSB 2003). 2

Louisiana Tech University’s STEM Talent Expansion Program (LaTechSTEP), funded by the National Science Foundation, has two major components that will yield increased numbers of graduates in STEM disciplines. One component focuses on recruitment of new students, while the second component increases retention of enrolled students. The Recruiting Component, hereafter referred to as TechSTEP, described in this paper stimulates interest in STEM topics at

Crittenden, K., & Nelson, J., & Turner, G., & Boudreaux, A. (2008, June), Techstep: Connecting High School Teachers And Students To Integrated Engineering And Science Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3323

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015