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Virtual Femineer® Program: Engaging K-12 Students and Teachers in Remote STEM Instruction (Evaluation)

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education Division Technical Session 14

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Kristina Rigden California State Polytechnic University-Pomona Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Rigden is the Director of Outreach Programs and the Women in Engineering Program for the College of Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona. In her position, she secures funding and provides several different outreach programming events to engage K-12 female students to pursue STEM majors and/or careers. Dr. Rigden’s research focus is the STEM pipeline from K-12 to college and career for underrepresented minorities. Her teaching and scholarship are grounded in the conceptual framework of culturally responsive pedagogy and andragogy for teaching diverse populations of students in virtual learning environments. Dr. Rigden earned her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Teacher Education in Multicultural Societies from the University of Southern California.

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In these last few months, so much has changed on campus, in our communities, and in the world around us. Many universities have transitioned from face-to-face to remote instruction due to COVID-19. In addition, several K-12 outreach programs and events transitioned to remote as well.

Because of this change, our K-12 outreach programs had to change from face-to-face to virtual methods quickly to meet the demands of the K-12 teachers. This paper presents the methods and actions taken by the XX University College of Engineering to transition our largest outreach program, Femineer® to virtual to meet the needs of our K-12 community members. This included holding virtual office hours, virtual refresher workshops and teacher enrollment in the new Learning Management System (LMS). The results show that K-12 teachers and administrators appreciated the quick transition to an LMS and the university staff support that was provided to schools.

Virtual Programming

With the quick transition to remote instruction, the first event we held was a virtual office hours session for our Femineer® teachers and administrators. This session was held to keep our community stakeholders updated on the status of our program and what was to come with the uncertainty of face-to-face instruction. We acknowledged that schools in different states are in different situations depending on local and state policies. From this first virtual office hours, it was determined that a Learning Management System (LMS) would need to be utilized for our Femineer® teachers and students.

An extensive process was used to determine the best LMS for our Femineer® Program and it was determined that CYPHER LEARNING, the parent company of NEO LMS would suit our program. They offer a free version up to 400 participants, live chat support, an easy-to-use interface with native mobile apps for iOS and Android, class templates with graphical tile and text views, grading and assessment options, collaboration tools, and unlimited storage with a maximum individual upload file size of 30 MB. While NEO LMS offers lots of different teaching and learning options, we would use it to host our Femineer® curriculum, yearly reports, and short instructional videos about engineering content. This is our way of managing the content of the program and virtual assistance so all participants to communicate via a message board, access the curriculum, and submit yearly reports.

Each NEO LMS course has a discussion board so teachers can message other Femineer® teachers, curriculum documents such as the binder content, logos from all affiliate sites, and other Femineer® resources. A soft launch with NEO LMS was hosted in Summer 2020 with two virtual orientation sessions. Written and picture directions, in addition to a screencast video, was also used for teachers that could not attend our virtual orientation sessions. The screencast illustrated how to create account, how to log-in and how to use different features of NEO LMS.


This paper will examine K-12 virtual programming events at XX University College of Engineering. The virtual events show that all approaches were employed to continue reaching out to our K-12 community of students, educators, administrators, and stakeholders.

While the future is still unknown at this point of when a return to campus may happen and in-person K-12 schools will resume in California, this paper shows a series of virtual events to meet the needs of our K-12 engineering population.

Rigden, K. (2021, July), Virtual Femineer® Program: Engaging K-12 Students and Teachers in Remote STEM Instruction (Evaluation) Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--38014

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