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University/Industry Led Transportation Focused Weekend Outreach Programs for 7th-12th Grade Girls: A Context Focused Framework

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

K-12 and Pre-college Engineering Poster Session

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1402.1 - 25.1402.22



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Paper Authors


Kristina M. Fields University of Wisconsin, Platteville

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Kristina Fields is an Assistant Professor of civil engineering focusing on transportation at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville. Providing the age-appropriate transportation STEM outreach programs, the topic of her paper, has been a excellent experience for her. She is passionate about non-motorized transportation and links this to opportunities to improve community livability and connectivity for all ages of users, which she does through a variety of service learning projects.

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Tammy J. Salmon-Stephens University of Wisconsin, Platteville

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Tammy Salmon-Stephens is the Senior Director of the Women in Engineering, Math, and Science program and EMS Advising at UW, Platteville, for nearly 15 years. In her tenure at UW, Platteville, she has served as the Faculty Advisor for the Collegiate Section of the Society of Women Engineers. Salmon-Stephens has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and a master's degree in engineering. She is actively involved in nearly $2 million worth of grants to support the recruitment and retention of women students in STEM and is the recipient of the University of Wisconsin System Outstanding Academic Staff Award. She was recently awarded the UW, Platteville, Woman of the Year Award.

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Elizabeth Ann Holden University of Wisconsin, Platteville

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Elizabeth Holden is a physics lecturer at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville. She has a M.S. in physics from Northern Illinois University. In addition to physics, she teaches Women in Science and Engineering and is leading a short term study abroad, the History of Science and Technology. I am currently interested in creating an engineering outreach program based around the science of dogs.

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Kim M. Lobdell P.E. KL Engineering, Inc.

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University/Industry Led Transportation Focused Weekend Outreach Programs for 7th-12th Grade Girls – a Context Focused FrameworkMotivation:The percentage of women age 16 and older in the U.S. workforce has steadily increased from 30percent in 1950 to about 46.5 percent in 2008. Despite this increasing presence in the workforcein general, women remain under-represented in engineering and the transportation industry. In2008, only 10.4 percent of all civil engineers in the United States were women. In the category oftransportation and material-moving occupations, which includes both white and blue collar jobs,the percentage of full-time employed female workers totaled only 13 percent in 2008. This lowpercentage is alarming and as a nation, the transportation industry is missing out on a talentedpool. Perhaps part of the reason that this percentage is so low is that women are not aware ofhow transportation impacts lives. Studies show that women are attracted to careers that canimprove the quality of people’s lives. Transportation impacts the quality of everyone’s life andsince many transportation careers require science, technology, engineering, and mathematics(STEM), grouping STEM and transportation education together makes sense. This transportationsocial context for STEM education has international exposure.A recent international Delphi study that gathered 32 engineering, technology and educationexperts from nine different countries concluded that the curriculum used to support K-12engineering and technology education be brought into social contexts such as: water, food,energy, mobility/transportation, shelter, and health and safety. Noting that K-12 curriculuminvolving the use of transportation furthers the understanding and interest in engineering,particularly among women and other underrepresented groups.Approach:To counter the gender gap and to encourage careers in transportation, the University ofWisconsin-Platteville will introduce transportation in STEM to girls in grades 7-12, bycontinuing an existing multi-year outreach series. This program will focus on providing threeweekend events for specific age groups with each program (grades 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12) duringthe academic school year.This outreach program strives to be different than others in that it is deliberately context focusedfor the curriculum developers and the outreach attendees, providing a win-win for the outreachprograms.The curriculum is being developed by university faculty and graduate students within theiracademic engineering disciplines and industry partners – practicing female engineers workingwithin and developing curriculum based on their engineering passions.The age appropriate (7th-12th graders) curriculum is being shaped to the personal and socialcontext of the attendees in that it will provide creative hands on activities that relate engineeringto their daily lives and show social relevance to the world. The curriculum will also be creativeand involve disciplines outside of engineering such as art, communication, and physical activity.Product:This paper will detail the work that is in progress for these outreach programs. The contextfocused curriculum development framework will be presented, along with an explanation as tohow the background support of the existing Women in Engineering Program frees up thetime/resources of the curriculum development team to focus on creating the context focusedengineering curriculum.Applications:Other engineering outreach programs can use this outreach model as a way to deliver targetedcontext focused engineering outreach.

Fields, K. M., & Salmon-Stephens, T. J., & Holden, E. A., & Lobdell, K. M. (2012, June), University/Industry Led Transportation Focused Weekend Outreach Programs for 7th-12th Grade Girls: A Context Focused Framework Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22159

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