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The Effectiveness of Engineering Camps as Pre-college Recruitment Tools

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2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity


Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 14, 2019

Start Date

April 14, 2019

End Date

April 22, 2019

Conference Session

Track: Pre-college - Technical Session 6

Tagged Topics

Diversity and Pre-College

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Paper Authors


Malle R Schilling University of Dayton

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Malle Schilling is planning to pursue a PhD in Engineering Education. As an undergraduate mechanical engineering student at the University of Dayton, she explored the effects of engineering camps on participants' self-efficacy in engineering and other issues of diversity and inclusion in engineering. She is interested in engineering education, diversity in engineering, outreach and policy.

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Margaret Pinnell University of Dayton

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Dr. Margaret Pinnell is the Associate Dean for Faculty and Staff Development in the school of engineering and associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Dayton. She teaches undergraduate and graduate materials related courses including Introduction to Materials, Materials Laboratory, Engineering Innovation, Biomaterials and Engineering Design and Appropriate Technology (ETHOS). She was director of the (Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service-Learning) for approximately ten years. She has incorporated service-learning projects into her classes and laboratories since she started teaching in 2000. Her research interests include community engaged learning and pedagogy, K-12 outreach, biomaterials and materials testing and analysis.

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The purpose of this study was to explore the effectiveness of the college recruitment of summer engineering camp participants. Summer engineering camps hosted by colleges and universities have been in existence since the middle of the 20th century. These engineering camps exist to provide students with the opportunity to explore engineering, learn about different fields of engineering, work on projects, and interact with actual engineers. Additionally, these camps also often exist as a pre-college recruitment tool for the host college or university. Existing research indicates that these programs do have some influence on students becoming engineers. However, the efficacy of these programs as recruiting tools for the host college or university is largely unknown. To address this gap in knowledge, surveys were disseminated to high school age participants at the beginning and end of three residential engineering camps: an underrepresented minority (URM) male engineering camp, a female only engineering camp, and a co-ed engineering camp. Participants provided a history of their previous STEM experiences, their interest in engineering, their interest in a formal visit to the host university, their interest in completing a college application for the host university, and their interest in attending the host university. Survey results indicated a significant positive increase in the number of camp participants from all three camps interested in attending the host university after their camp experience (URM male: ∆x=0.47, p=0.02; all-female: ∆x=0.36, p=0.03; co-ed: ∆x=0.39, p=0.0007). These results suggest that these camps can serve as effective recruitment tools for colleges and universities.

Schilling, M. R., & Pinnell, M. (2019, April), The Effectiveness of Engineering Camps as Pre-college Recruitment Tools Paper presented at 2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity , Crystal City, Virginia. 10.18260/1-2--31798

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