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You're Hired! Changing Students' Attitudes Towards Engineering

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

K-12 Engineering Resources: Best Practices in Curriculum Design, Part 2 of 2

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1408.1 - 24.1408.21



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Paper Authors


Kristin M Brevik The University of North Dakota

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Kristin Brevik is a graduate student in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of North Dakota. She received her B.S. from Minnesota State University Moorhead in Physics. Her research focus is in STEM education and project design.

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Bradley Bowen North Dakota State University

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Bradley Bowen is an assistant professor at North Dakota State University. He has a duel appointment with the Teacher Education Department and the Department of Construction Management and Engineering. He has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech and received a Master's of Civil Engineering and an Ed.D. in Technology Education from N.C. State University. He specializes in developing and integrating project-based activities into the K-12 classroom that incorporate engineering and STEM learning concepts as well as providing professional development for K-12 teachers.

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Frank M. Bowman University of North Dakota

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Dr. Frank Bowman is Associate Professor, Tom Owens Fellow, and Associate Chair in the
Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of North Dakota. He holds a Ph.D.
from the California Institute of Technology and a B.S from Brigham Young University, both
in Chemical Engineering. His research interests include atmospheric aerosols, assessment
of student learning, and educational computer games.

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Kristi Jean North Dakota State College of Science

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Dr. Kristi Jean is associate professor in the Applied Sciences and Technology at the North Dakota State College of Science. She holds a Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology, M.S. from Lehigh University and a B.S. from the University of North Dakota, all in Chemical Engineering. She serves as a female role model in K-12 STEM outreach and is trained in project design that incorporates scaling, sustaining and behavior influence strategies.

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You're Hired! Infusing STEM and 21st Century Skills in Schools to Improve Attitudes Towards EngineeringWith the growing need for qualified employees in STEM-based careers, it is critical to developactivities for middle and high school students to increase their awareness of opportunities inthese areas. With proper design, increasing awareness of STEM-based careers in conjunctionwith overcoming current stereotypes can lead to a change in attitudes towards these variouscareers. Researchers at __________, along with __________ and __________, have developed‘You’re Hired!', a program providing middle and high school students a hands-on, authenticexperience in various engineering roles while assessing the change in a student’s attitude towardsthe engineering profession. Project design also incorporates within this engaging STEMexperience an opportunity in which students can hone their 21st Century Skills such ascollaboration, critical thinking and time management. As students conduct peer and self-assessments of their 21st Century Skills throughout this program, school administrators are quickto recognize the benefit of implementing a single program that brings both STEM and 21stCentury Skills into their districts. Evaluation of the program’s success includes a pre-survey andpost-survey to determine the impact of the comprehensive program on student’s attitudestowards engineering and engineering-related careers.‘You’re Hired!’ is a series of three STEM-based projects, given over the course of a schoolyear, that requires students to work as a ‘company’ for an entire school day to find a solution to arelevant, present-day problem. At the end of each project, the students communicate theirsolution to a community-led boardroom, comprised of school board members, communitystakeholders and local industry representatives. The 'You're Hired!' program is designed toimmerse students in an authentic real-world experience by incorporating the engineering designprocess and 21st Century Skills, and to track their progress in these areas throughout the yearusing peer- and self-assessments.This research project uses both quantitative and qualitative analysis to analyze the data gatheredduring the program. The initial findings demonstrate that the 'You're Hired!' program appears tobe effective in increasing the awareness and attitudes of students towards the field of engineeringand engineering-related careers. This paper will present the details of the program, themethodology for data collection and analysis, and a discussion of the findings. The researcherswill also discuss the rapid popularity and growth of the program due to schools striving toimplement STEM for all students and assess 21st Century Skills. The paper will also describeplans to expand the program across a tri-state region as well as developing a model forsustainability and expansion to other regions.

Brevik, K. M., & Bowen, B., & Bowman, F. M., & Jean, K. (2014, June), You're Hired! Changing Students' Attitudes Towards Engineering Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22798

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