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The Curie River Basin: Introduction To Engineering In A Social Context

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.987.1 - 6.987.8



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Paper Authors

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Robin Burt

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Krishna Athreya

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K-Y. Daisy Fan

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

Session 2793

The CURIE River Basin: Introduction to Engineering in a Social Context

K-Y. Daisy Fan, Krishna S. Athreya, Robin J. Burt

School of Civil & Environmental Engineering/ Women’s Programs in Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York


The Elements: 40 academically gifted high school girls; a nationally recognized engineering college, seven days. The Task: Create a sense of excitement about and an awareness of the limitless possibilities in engineering. Cornell’s Strategy: The CURIE Academy, a week-long, residential summer engineering experience comprising field-specific information sessions, panel discussions, team and leadership building, hands-on activities, all focusing on a complex, multi-disciplinary project. The CURIE 2000 project was a water quality management problem that highlighted technical, social, political, and economic aspects of “real life” engineering. The project was created and delivered by a graduate student in Civil and Environmental Engineering, with support from five undergraduate Program Assistants who facilitated the group interactions and provided social mentoring for the girls. The challenges and rewards of such an ambitious project were plentiful. The CURIE experience not only increased the girls’ awareness of the opportunities and technical challenges in engineering, but also allowed them to experience the complex interaction among our society, technology, and environment—an issue not often addressed in the early stages of engineering education.


Engineering continues to be a field where women and people of color are highly under- represented, with women making up barely 20% of the undergraduate population in engineering in the United States and minorities making up less than 10%.1 The recent report of the Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology (CAWMSET) reiterates the national need for broadening the accessibility to quality SET pre-college education, particularly for underrepresented minorities.2 Institutions and colleges of engineering are recognizing this need; a variety of programs currently exist to enhance the pre-college pipeline to engineering by providing early education opportunities on university campuses.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Burt, R., & Athreya, K., & Fan, K. D. (2001, June), The Curie River Basin: Introduction To Engineering In A Social Context Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9059

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