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Using Materials Science for Community Outreach, Engineering Education, and Innovation

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Descriptions of Curricular and Model Development

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1624.1 - 22.1624.9



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Paper Authors


Amy Hsiao Memorial University of Newfoundland

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Dr. Amy Hsiao is associate professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and chair of the Master of Engineering Management program at Memorial University of Newfoundland. With also a cross-appointment in the Faculty of Business Administration, she teaches Entrepreneurship, Production and Operations Management, and Materials Science at the undergraduate level and Organizational Behaviour and Engineering Management Topics at the graduate level. Her research interests are in materials characterization and magnetic materials processing (on the Engineering side) and strategic management of technology and technology entrepreneurship (on the Business side).

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Using Materials Science for Community Outreach, Engineering Education, and InnovationEngineering and entrepreneurship are topics that are not well-developed in the high schoolcurriculum. While advanced courses in physics, chemistry, and biology may be offered, studentsrarely know what “engineering” really is and what technology-based “entrepreneurship” reallymeans. This paper centers on the idea that these two “themes” can be better introduced beforeuniversity, such that motivated young students can see the continuum between their education,how science is applied in engineering design, and how their innovative ideas can impact theircommunities.This work will present research gathered from high school science teachers from selected K-12schools across Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, addressing specifically the gaps that theyhave identified as being most challenging in defining what Engineering is in the realm of sciencecurriculum in grades 9-12. This paper will also describe the development of a hands-on learningtool, a “portable materials science lab kit” that considers the input from these communityeducators and uses various types of materials, i.e. composites, nanomaterials, magnetic alloys,etc., to demonstrate what Engineering is and how Engineering and Entrepreneurship is relevantlyapplied to the important sectors of the province, i.e. the Energy, Oil and Gas, Oceans, andWildlife sectors. The “portable lab kits” are designed for high school classrooms, in which smallgroups of students work through hands-on laboratory modules focusing on a specific material ina specific application. The “portable lab kits” can also be used by teachers as interactivedemonstrations of specific scientific concepts in engineering applications. The process ofinnovation is thus shown from the perspective of using materials science to illustrate “scientificconcept”, to “design” (invention), to “entrepreneurship” (commercialization), to “technologicalapplication”.Developing engineers with entrepreneurial skills is becoming a valued objective for engineeringfaculties across the country. Entrepreneurship courses are being added to engineeringcurriculum and graduate programs are being developed in Engineering Management, forexample. This paper will also conclude by addressing this trend and presenting an assessment ofthe role of the province’s main university, Memorial University of Newfoundland, as an“entrepreneurial university”, by which academic entrepreneurs emerge and invention isconverted to technology.The work presented will be based on an inductive research approach, such that qualitative datagathered via surveys, questionnaires, and interviews from three identified sources (scienceteachers, university members, and local entrepreneurs) are analyzed to develop specificconclusions and feasible frameworks for future discussions. As well, the “portable lab kit”, willbe a product of the research results that will be described in detail and demonstrated. The workpresented is an initiative led by the authors in conjunction with the Faculty of Engineering andApplied Science and the Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development at MemorialUniversity.

Hsiao, A. (2011, June), Using Materials Science for Community Outreach, Engineering Education, and Innovation Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18767

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