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Utilization of STEM Tools and Workshops to Promote STEM Education in the United States and South Africa

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2015 ASEE International Forum


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 14, 2015

Conference Session

Concurrent Paper Tracks - Session I

Tagged Topics

Diversity and International Forum

Page Count


Page Numbers

19.40.1 - 19.40.16



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Paper Authors


Ben Groenewald

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Ben Groenewald is Head of the EECE Dept. at CPUT in South Africa. He holds a Master of Science in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Cape Town and is currently studying towards his PhD. He is a panel member of the organizing and editorial committee of the Domestic Use of Energy and the Industrial and Commercial Use of Energy conferences. He is a reviewer for both of these conferences. Mr. Groenewald was the CPUT capstone design class coordinator for many years. His main interest, apart from managing his department, is the promotion of STEM education in South Africa and developing sustainable off-grid electricity supply micro-grid models for rural towns in South Africa.

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Christina L. Carmen University of Alabama, Huntsville

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Dr. Carmen obtained a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering degree as well as a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA. While at Ga. Tech she worked with Dr. Warren Strahle, researching solid propellants. She obtained a Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) with a focus upon turbulent combustion modeling. Dr. Carmen is the capstone design class coordinator in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) department at UAH. She primarily teaches MAE senior design classes with a focus upon product realization – a class she has taught for 14 years.

Several of Dr. Carmen’s senior design teams have won national and international design competitions including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Safety Engineering and Risk Analysis Division safety competition, the International Aluminum Extrusion Design Competition, the American Astronautical Society/von Braun Symposium student poster competition, the NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) Systems Engineering design competition and the NASA Great Moonbuggy Race. In 2012, the UAH Moonbuggy team won 1st place in the Moonbuggy race.

Dr. Carmen is the UAH ASME student chapter faculty advisor as well as a Director of the North Alabama ASME section. Dr. Carmen has served as a National Science Foundation scholarship panelist, Department of Defense SMART scholarship panelist and as a delegate to the ASME Leadership Training conference. In 2010 and 2013, Dr. Carmen was named the Outstanding Mechanical Engineer in North Alabama by ASME. In 2010 she was awarded a NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) faculty fellowship – one of 5 senior design class instructors selected from around the country to participate in the program. As a result of the fellowship, several UAH MAE senior design teams have been able to work with NASA engineers on projects that are relevant to NASA’s mission. In April 2011, Dr. Carmen was selected as a Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award recipient.

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Utilization of STEM Tools and Workshops to Promote STEM Education in the United States and South Africa Christina L. Carmen, Ph.D. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department University of Alabama in Huntsville Huntsville, Alabama, USA Ben Groenewald Department of Electrical Engineering Cape Peninsula University of Technology Cape Town, South Africa ABSTRACTAn academic partnership was established between the Cape Peninsula University of Technology(CPUT) in Cape Town, South Africa and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) in Huntsville,Alabama (AL) in 2012. This joint effort was termed the ALLiance for International Excellence amongthe future Space workforce, or ALLIES. Initially, the ALLIES partnership was centered withinengineering design classes at CPUT and UAH whereby engineering design tools and methodologieswere shared as well as a focus upon the design and development of Science, Technology, Engineering,and Mathematics (STEM) tools created by the CPUT and UAH engineering students. The STEM toolsare intended to provide Kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) students-both in the US and SouthAfrica-an intuitive, hands-on learning experience in order to encourage the younger students to pursue aSTEM education. During the design process, visits are made to the K-12 schools in order to incorporatethe design suggestions of the students and teachers as well as ensure that the STEM tools provide anunderstanding of a required learning outcome specified within the curriculum. Thus far, as a result ofthe ALLIES collaboration, three STEM tools have been developed: a catapult and two table top windtunnels. While the catapult was donated to a school in South Africa and the wind tunnels were donatedto schools in the US, both STEM tools were designed and fabricated with input from both CPUT andUAH engineering design students. In 2013, the ALLIES effort was expanded beyond the design anddevelopment of STEM tools to include a workshop aimed at motivating and inspiring undergraduatestudents and educators throughout the Cape Town, South Africa region to pursue their own STEMinitiatives. The workshop focused upon the need to further develop the future STEM workforce andprovide guidelines for proactively integrating STEM initiatives within K-12 schools and universities.During the workshop, audience members also engaged in a brief space-related design project that can betailored to any age bracket. The present paper will provide a brief overview of the STEM tools that havebeen created thus far, with a focus upon the details and impact of the STEM outreach workshopconducted in South Africa. Data has been garnered that details the learning outcome and benefit of theSTEM tools upon US and South African K-12 students as well as the impact of the STEM workshop inSouth Africa.

Groenewald, B., & Carmen, C. L. (2015, June), Utilization of STEM Tools and Workshops to Promote STEM Education in the United States and South Africa Paper presented at 2015 ASEE International Forum, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--17163

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