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Vdp A Mentor Focused Middle School Outreach Program

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Conference

2006 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Approaches to K -12 Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count

16

Page Numbers

11.1423.1 - 11.1423.16

DOI

10.18260/1-2--581

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/581

Download Count

99

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Paper Authors

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Eugene Brown Virginia Tech

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EUGENE F. BROWN -- Dr. Brown is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. He has worked with ONR since 2001 on university-centered Navy work force development issues. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in thermodynamics and fluid mechanics and is the author of many papers and reports describing his research in the areas of computational fluid dynamics and aircraft propulsion.

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Robert Kavetsky Office of Naval Research

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ROBERT A. KAVETSKY -- Mr. Kavetsky is currently on assignment to ONR, where he is the director of the N-STAR program, an initiative focused on revitalizing the S&T base in the Navy’s Warfare Centers. He is a mechanical engineering graduate of Catholic University, and has worked in the fields of hypersonic aerodynamics, explosives, undersea warheads, and mine countermeasures.

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Robert L. Stiegler NSWCDD

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ROBERT L. STIEGLER -- Mr. Stiegler is currently supporting the USMC Targeting and Engagement Systems and the Office of Naval Research, N-STAR initiative. His recent career experience has included service as a program manager for USMC science and technology programs, Science Advisor to the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Forces Atlantic, and Head, NAVSEA Combat Systems Safety and Engineering Division.

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Peter N. Squire NSWCDD

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PETER N. SQUIRE -- Peter Squire received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from Mary Washington College. He is a scientist for the B 34 Human System Integration branch at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) and is pursing a Ph.D. in Human Factors and Applied Cognition at George Mason University.

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Juanita Jo Matkins College of William and Mary

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JUANITA JO MATKINS -- Dr. Matkins is an Assistant Professor of Science Education at the College of William and Mary. She was a K-12 teacher for 18 years, and the Virginia recipient of the 1995 Presidential Award for Excellence in Secondary Science Teaching. She has written and published several papers and reports on various issues in teacher education, including assessment, gender and multicultural issues in science education.

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Gail Hardinge College of William and Mary

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GAIL B. HARDINGE -- Dr. Hardinge is an educational psychologist who currently works with the Va. Department of Education's Training and Technical Assistance Centers, at the College of William and Mary, providing professional development programs for teachers. She has worked in public education for twenty-two years and is an adjunct Assistant Professor at William and Mary, teaching courses in collaborative consultation and assessment, as well serving as the college's VDP Project Coordinator.

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John A. McLaughlin McLauglin Associates

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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN – Dr. McLaughlin is a senior consultant in strategic planning, performance measurement, and program evaluation. He is presently working on several projects including the Environmental Protection Agency, Health and Human Services Administration on Aging and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well serving as the lead evaluation consultant to seven national centers.

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

VDP--A Mentor-Focused Middle School Outreach Program

Abstract

The Virginia Demonstration Project (VDP) is a science and math outreach program for 7th and 8th grade students. The VDP is funded by the Office of Naval Research and is currently being piloted in the middle schools of Stafford, Spotsylvania, and King George County, Virginia. Scientists and engineers employed at the nearby Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia, work alongside the teachers, and, serving as mentors and role models, use problem- based learning techniques to give a real-world, Navy-flavored realism to the educational experience. The objective of the program is to increase interest among the students in pursuing careers in math, science, and engineering.

Introduction

“America’s progress has been synonymous with innovation. Thorough grounding in science and mathematics contributes to people’s full participation in the professional, civic, and intellectual possibilities available in American society. Corporate growth and economic development, coupled with a higher standard of living, are inextricably tied to technological advancement. To continue to grow, however, the United States needs a technically literate society and an engineering-minded workforce. Unfortunately, these are two key areas in which our education system often fails to meet the mark. The good news is that a solution can be found in our K-12 classrooms.” Douglas et al. (2004)1.

Many studies have confirmed that America’s educational system is lacking. Listed under the title “Some Worrisome Indicators” in the Executive Summary of the National Academy of Engineering’s (2005)2 Rising Above the Gathering Storm, three particularly compelling statements can be found: 1) “Fewer than one-third of US 4th grade and 8th grade students performed at or above a level called “proficient” in mathematics, 2) “US 12th graders recently performed below the international average for 21 countries on a test of general knowledge in mathematics and science,” and 3) “In 1999, only 41% of US 8th grade students received instruction from a mathematics teacher who specialized in mathematics, considerably lower than the international average of 71%.” There is clearly ample room for improvement here.

Aside from the educational quality issue, it is revealing to look at the demographics of the students in today’s engineering programs. From Douglas et al. (2004) we read that female students comprise only 20% of the engineering undergraduates, compared to 55% of all undergraduates; and for African-Americans, the comparative figures are 5.3 and 10.8%. Of equal concern is the fact that these percentages have been dropping while the overall participation in higher education among these groups has been rising. Engineering is plainly failing to attract a significant number of women and minorities.

Douglas et al. (2004) suggests that one of the reasons can be traced back to the K-12 teachers. A survey conducted by the ASEE of 522 K-12 teachers revealed that they saw engineering as being

Brown, E., & Kavetsky, R., & Stiegler, R. L., & Squire, P. N., & Matkins, J. J., & Hardinge, G., & McLaughlin, J. A. (2006, June), Vdp A Mentor Focused Middle School Outreach Program Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--581

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