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The Impact Of A Summer Institute On High School Students’ Perceptions Of Engineering And Technology

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

IE Outreach and Advancement

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1267.1 - 9.1267.7



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Paper Authors

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Tycho Fredericks

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Steven Butt

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Jorge Rodriguez

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

Session 3557

The Impact of a Summer Institute on High School Students’ Perceptions of Engineering and Technology

Tycho K. Fredericks1, Jorge Rodriguez1, Steven Butt1, Cheryl Harris2, Heather Smith3, and Norma Velasquez-Bryant4 1 Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Western Michigan University Parkview Campus Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5336 2 University of Texas – Austin, 3 University of Colorado – Boulder, 4 University of Nevada – Reno

Western Michigan University (WMU)’s Summer Institute for Technology, “Design- Engineering-Technology: Enlightened Trial and Error” is a 2-week simulated design engineering program for high school juniors and seniors. The goal of the Summer Institute is to provide students an opportunity to interact with engineering professionals and practitioners in a simulated engineering product design process. This product development process is valuable because it corresponds with the type of interpersonal communication, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills that leading firms and industry seek from new employees. The specific evaluation goals for this endeavor were as follows: 1) what are participants' beliefs about engineers and engineering and; 2) how have participants’ beliefs about engineering as a career changed over the two-week Institute? Pre- and post-surveys were administered to the 36 participants to gather their opinions. Statistical results indicated that the participants’ perceptions of engineering were significantly influenced. Furthermore, female participants’ perceptions were significantly influenced to consider a career in engineering. Other findings and implications are discussed in the body of the paper.


The United States of America is a country that thrives on technological advancement. We have an insatiable appetite for the latest technology and do not mind spending billions of dollars each year to satisfy our yearnings. Unfortunately, we are not as passionate about encouraging our youth to pursue careers in engineering and technology. The gap between the demand for engineers and the supply required by industry is growing and is not being filled by our own talent pool1. The problem of attracting students to engineering has been a topic largely debated. The most commonly cited reasons for the void in students is an undeniable image problem2

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Fredericks, T., & Butt, S., & Rodriguez, J. (2004, June), The Impact Of A Summer Institute On High School Students’ Perceptions Of Engineering And Technology Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13456

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