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The Impact of Volunteering at a Girls Outreach Activity on Community Formation

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session - Pre-college Programs for Women

Tagged Divisions

Women in Engineering and Pre-College Engineering Education Division

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Donna C. Llewellyn Boise State University

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Donna Crystal Llewellyn received her BA (major in Mathematics and minor in Economics) with High Honors from Swarthmore College in 1980. She went on to earn an MS in Operations Research from Stanford University in 1981 and a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Cornell University in 1984. After 30 years at Georgia Tech in a variety of roles, Donna became the Executive Director of the new Institute for STEM and Diversity Initiatives and a Professor in the College of Innovation and Design at Boise State University in January 2015. Donna's current interests center around education issues in general, and in particular on increasing access and success of those traditionally under-represented and/or under-served in STEM higher education.

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Janet Callahan Boise State University Orcid 16x16

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Janet Callahan is the Founding Associate Dean for the College of Engineering at Boise State University and a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. Dr. Callahan received her Ph.D. in Materials Science, her M.S. in Metallurgy, and her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Connecticut. Her educational research interests include freshman engineering programs, math success, K-12 STEM curriculum and accreditation, and retention and recruitment of STEM majors.

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Amy J Moll Boise State University

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Amy J. Moll is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Dean of the College of Engineering at Boise State University. Moll received her B.S. degree in Ceramic Engineering from University of Illinois, Urbana in 1987. Her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are in Materials Science and Engineering from University of California at Berkeley in 1992 and 1994. Following graduate school, Moll worked for Hewlett Packard (San Jose, Calif. and Colorado Springs, Colo.). She joined the faculty at Boise State as an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering in August of 2000. Along with Dr. Bill Knowlton, Moll founded the Materials Science and Engineering Program at BSU and served as the first chair. In February 2011, she became Dean of the College of Engineering. Her research interests include microelectronic packaging, particularly 3-D integration and ceramic MEMS devices.

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Catherine Rose Bates Institute for STEM & Diversity Initiatives

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This paper is focused on exploring the motivation for volunteering at an engineering outreach activity. The outreach activity itself involved a two day, overnight experience for 9th and 10th grade girls that started in 2005, and which has been held annually since that time. The outreach event takes place in a metropolitan capital city in the western United States and at the time of its onset was the only outreach or camp activity in that state focused on girls or young women. Across ten years, 510 total girls have participated, with approximately 85% of them coming from the immediate metropolitan area. The program was developed with a mind toward marketing engineering as an exciting, creative activity, including activities developed specifically from that perspective[Ref: blinded]. The specific topic of this paper is an investigation into the motivation for volunteers and students to support this program. Our hypothesis is that, in particular, the women found this an experience that helped to create community among like-minded STEM focused professionals and students. An anonymous survey was used to collect information from the 188 individuals who helped support the program across the past ten years. This includes people from local industry, and faculty, students and staff from the university (some of the student staff were paid and some of the university staff participated as part of their work duties; all others were volunteers). Survey participants were asked to identify themselves as primarily being a student, faculty or staff at the associated university, professional employed in the region, or other. In total, 67 people responded to the survey. Across all respondents, 55% were students, 12% were faculty and 5% were staff at the university; and 25% were from outside the university. The results from the survey include their motivation for participation, and reasons for participating during more than one year if applicable. Survey results also include information reported concerning formal and informal interactions between volunteers, and information concerning opportunities for interactions with other professional women that are available. Finally, respondents’ reported on how they may have benefited from their participation in the engineering outreach activity together with advice they have to help improve the volunteer experience are presented. This paper will report on the results of this survey and will discuss the implications of these results. Blinded Reference (for initial review): Proceedings of the 2006 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago IL, 2006-MMMM (2006).

Llewellyn, D. C., & Callahan, J., & Moll, A. J., & Bates, C. R. (2016, June), The Impact of Volunteering at a Girls Outreach Activity on Community Formation Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26184

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