Asee peer logo

Work in Progress: Twenty Year Evolution of an Outreach Program

Download Paper |


2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Work-In-Progress Postcard Session

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Taryn Melkus Bayles University of Pittsburgh

visit author page

Taryn Bayles, Ph.D., is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and Vice Chair of Undergraduate Education in the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh, where she incorporates her industrial experience by bringing practical examples and interactive learning to help students understand fundamental engineering principles. Her current research focuses on engineering education, outreach and curriculum development.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Almost twenty years ago, in an undergraduate-level Introduction to Biomedical Engineering elective, a group project was created which allowed an opportunity for students to delve deeply into an area of interest that was not covered in the class material. A second objective was to provide a forum for the students to hone their presentation and group interaction skills. The project integrated a high school outreach presentation and required the students to participate in problem-based learning, hands-on activities and challenged undergraduates to present highly technical material to an audience with little technical knowledge. Within a year, this project expanded to be included in a required junior level chemical engineering course. Over the years, the project has expanded to include presentations to K-12 students, while allowing undergraduate chemical engineering students to serve as role models while they provide demonstrations, hands-on activities and teach fundamental STEM concepts. The undergraduate students are still required to determine the efficacy of their presentation, which has allowed them to practice their statistics skills. In addition, chemical engineering students are required to practice their presentation with their instructor, during which a wide variety of misconceptions have been uncovered. With the new changes to the ABET student outcomes to include ‘an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences’, this project provides this opportunity to our students. Fast forward almost twenty years – this project has impacted almost one-thousand undergraduate chemical engineering students and over 10,000 K-12 students. As this is a ‘work in progress’ it is anticipated that audience members will be able to provide insight as to which features of this project can be transferable to their programs.

Bayles, T. M. (2019, June), Work in Progress: Twenty Year Evolution of an Outreach Program Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33658

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015