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Women Building the US STEM Pipeline

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 6

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

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Paper Authors


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 since 2002.

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 NASA 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 2015 Dr. Carmen was named the UAH College of Engineering Oustanding Teacher, and in 2010 and 2013 she 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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Deborah Lynn Fraley Women in Defense, TN Valley Chapter

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Deborah Fraley is an Aerospace Engineer from Auburn University with 38 years experience as a defense contractor. She is employed as the Business Development Manager for Quantum Research International, Inc., a small company headquartered in Huntsville, AL. She is also the STEM Director for the TN Valley Chapter (TVC) of Women In Defense (WID), a national security organization dedicated to the advancement of women in national defense fields. Ms Fraley coordinates the WID TVC STEM program in partnership with the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Ms Fraley was awarded the prestigious Joseph C. Moquin Award for Professional of the Year for 2014 by the Huntsville Association of Technical Societies for her STEM work in the TN Valley area. Additionally, Ms Fraley is on the Advisory Council for the Auburn University Huntsville Research Center.

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Due to an aging National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States (US) Department of Defense (DoD), and US Aerospace Industry workforce, as well as the need to improve diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, the US has made concerted efforts to grow the STEM pipeline. This national priority is informed by the fact that advancements and innovations in STEM fields are indicative of a growing and progressive society; for political, technological, and economic reasons, among others, it is critical that the US maintain leadership in these arenas. As the result of a shared interest in STEM outreach and education, a group of women representing academia and a non-profit national defense organization, have partnered to enable the design and development of STEM tools that are subsequently donated to Kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) classrooms for their continued use. STEM tools allow for tactile learning of subject matter often presented in a solely theoretical manner. The effort, referred to as the STEM initiative (STEMi), partners a Capstone Design Class (CDC) instructor at The University of STATE in CITY (USC) and representatives from Women in AAA (WIAAA). STEMi originated within WIAAA as a means to encourage primary and secondary education students to take an interest in STEM subject matter and, ultimately, pursue higher education in STEM fields. The USC CDC focuses upon Product Realization, whereby engineering students design and develop a product that meets customer requirements. The STEMi effort enables the USC students to create STEM tools under the guidance and support of representatives from WIAAA. The present paper will describe the STEM tool development process and assess the educational impact of the resulting STEM tools upon the K-12 students, as well as the impact of participating in a STEMi design project upon the USC students.

Carmen, C. L., & Fraley, D. L. (2017, June), Women Building the US STEM Pipeline Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29135

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