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NSF S.P.I.R.I.T. Workshop 2007. Engineering Recruitment : The Crisis of the 21 st Century. How to Identify and Propel High Potential Engineering Students Across Gender, Cultural, & Racial Barriers. The Crisis – NSF Indicators. Engineering enrollment in US down by 20% since the 1980’s

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Engineering recruitment the crisis of the 21 st century

NSF S.P.I.R.I.T. Workshop


Engineering Recruitment: The Crisis of the 21st Century

How to Identify and Propel

High Potential Engineering Students Across Gender, Cultural, & Racial


The crisis nsf indicators
The Crisis – NSF Indicators

  • Engineering enrollment in US down by 20% since the 1980’s

  • Since 1998, U.S. high-technology industries' importsexceed exports (aerospace, pharmaceuticals, office and computing equipment, communications equipment, and scientific instruments)

  • China & India, populations over 1 billion, emerging high technology & intellectual property competitors

  • India is #1 outsourcing destination for US companies

  • “Many retirements from the U.S. S&E labor force are impending. “

  • “U.S. 15-year-olds scored belowthe international average on the 2003 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which measures students' ability to apply scientific and mathematical concepts and skills”

  • Collectively, African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians/Alaskan Natives represent 10% of all college-educated persons employed in Science & Engineering Fields.

  • Women represent approx. 50% of the population, but only 26% of those in Science & Engineering fields

  • 11% of all engineers are women.

Source: NSF Science & Engineering Indicators 2006

The need
The Need

  • “If the United States is to maintain its economic leadership and be able to sustain its share of high-technology jobs,it must prepare.”

  • "The years between the present and 2020 offer engineering the opportunity to strengthen its leadership role in society and to define an engineering career as one of the most influential and valuable in society and one that is attractive for the best and the brightest,"

  • Source: The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century (2004) National Academy of Engineering (NAE)

The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century (2004)National Academy of Engineering (NAE)

  • “The book finds that the next several decades will offer more opportunities for engineers, with exciting possibilities expected from nanotechnology, information technology, and bioengineering. Other engineering applications, such as transgenic food, technologies that affect personal privacy, and nuclear technologies, raise complex social and ethical challenges. Future engineers must be preparedto help the public consider and resolve these dilemmas along with challenges that will arise from new global competition, requiring thoughtful and concerted action if engineering in the United States is to retain its vibrancy and strength.”

A call to action what do we do now
A Call to Action – CenturyWhat Do We Do Now?

  • Expose ALL students to Engineering Early.

    • Motivation for NSF ITEST

  • Identify students that possess High Potential for Engineering.

    • Identify & ascend above any gender, cultural, & racial barriers.

  • Propel High Potential Engineering students toward an Engineering Career Path.

Expose all students to engineering
Expose All Students to Engineering Century

  • What is engineering?

  • Engineering is FUN, Interesting, Creative!

    • TekBots!

  • Achieve a technically-literate population.

Identify students with high potential for engineering
Identify students with High Potential for Engineering Century

  • Why?

    • Junior High students of 2007 will be the Engineers of 2020!

  • How?

    • Know the Core Qualities of a Student With High Engineering Potential

  • Who fits the bill, really?

    • Boys that have it, Girls that have it

    • Cultural and Racial Factors

Questions to answer
Questions to Answer Century

  • To what extent does media influence a student’s perception of their own potential as an engineer?

  • How does culture, racial background, family upbringing influence a student’s perception of their own potential as an engineer?

  • Are all high potential engineers hands-on tinker-ers?

  • Are all fearless and experimental in math and science class?

  • How are girls different from boys in social, emotional, mental development at this age?

  • How might these differences express themselves differently in a male/female high potential engineering student?

Core qualities of a student with high engineering potential
Core Century Qualities of a Student With High Engineering Potential

  • High demonstrated ability for math and science

  • Inquisitive –wants to understand “why” and “how” things work:

    • Kinesthetic – Hands-on learner, explorer –take it apart

    • Visual – Uses vivid images to capture & hold ideas

    • Verbal/Aural – Captures ideas by Hearing & Talking

    • Reading/Writing – Intakes information in written form

  • Creative & Imaginative

  • Analytical Thinking & Problem Solving Ability

What are some potential barriers
What are Some Potential Barriers? Century

  • Limited view of “engineer”

  • Gender-based preconceptions

  • Racial/Ethnic Group perceptions

  • Economic, Cultural Factors

  • Lack of exposure to “what is engineering”

  • Belief that “it’s not achievable for me”

Lesson plan item applying engineering design elements
Lesson Plan Item Century(Applying Engineering Design Elements)

  • What will you do to engage student populations that face barriers to envisioning a career in engineering?

    • Girls, African American students, Latino students?

    • Any other students?

  • What will you do to encourage their participation in your planned TekBot activities?

  • What will you do to identify those high potential engineering students?

Lesson plan item cont applying engineering design elements
Lesson Plan Item Century, Cont.(Applying Engineering Design Elements)

  • Observe & Record the impact of these action items and record any unforeseen boundaries you discover along the way.

  • Seek & Implement Solutions

    (Support at Fall Meetings).

  • NSF Deliverable: SPIRIT Project Challenge

    • Can we DEMONSTRATE that activities developed with this project can show improvement in academic performance in girls and underrepresented students?

Some ideas
Some Ideas… Century

  • Have class write a paper on “What is an Engineer”. Then, define engineer & dispel common stereotypes of “engineer”.

  • Provide information about achievements and examples of a diverse group of engineers.

  • Create class dynamics to empower all students, not just a certain group, to have confidence experimenting with technology.

  • Expose students to engineers and/or engineering students they can easily relate to.

    • Videos

    • CEEN students

    • Guest Speakers or Videos of Speakers

Propel high potential students toward an engineering career path
Propel High Potential Students toward an Engineering Career Path

  • Educate, involve, engage Parents

  • Encourage participation in all math & science classes, special teams & projects

  • Encourage participation in all opportunities available:

    • Mentoring

    • College campus visits

    • Competitions

    • Tours of local industries (most involve applications of engineering!)

Students engineering our future
Students … Path Engineering …OUR FUTURE!

  • Plant the seed.

  • Nurture the vision.

  • Grow up the next generation of engineers for our country!

  • Capture all of our resources – can afford to leave no one behind!

The spelman college spelbots creating new role models in robotics
The PathSpelman College SpelBots – Creating New Role Models in Robotics…

  • The first all-women and African American undergraduate team to compete in the International RoboCup Four-Legged Soccer Competition in Osaka, Japan (2005) and Bremen, Germany (2006).

  • In 2005, they were the ONLY undergraduate team in the US to qualify.

  • In 2007, they earned 2nd place in the RoboCup 2007 Atlanta Technical Challenge Passing Challenge event.

  • SpelBots are ranked 7th in the world in the Four-legged Technical Challenge RoboCup 2007

Spelman College is a private historically Black all women’s college located in Atlanta, GA

The SpelBots with Advisor Dr. Andrew Williams

What isrobocup
What PathisRoboCup

  • It is an International Competition that utilizes robotic soccer to advance research in robotics and artificial intelligence.

  • The 2007 Atlanta Competition included 321 teams from 29 countries.

  • The competition utilizes both humainoid and Sony AIBO robots.

The engineer of 2020
The Engineer of 2020 Path

  • "What attributes will the engineer of 2020 have?"

  • That engineer "will aspire to have the ingenuity of Lillian Gilbreth, the problem-solving capabilities of Gordon Moore, the scientific insight of Albert Einstein, the creativity of Pablo Picasso, the determination of the Wright brothers, the leadership abilities of Bill Gates, the conscience of Eleanor Roosevelt, the vision of Martin Luther King and the curiosity and wonder of our grandchildren."

  • Source:

Resources Path

  • Achieving Gender Equity in Science Classrooms


  • Try Engineering: Life of An Engineer(8 Profiles of Real Engineers)

  • Women In Science – 16 Historical Profiles

  • National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) – Pre-College Initiative

  • The Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

  • The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

Resources cont
Resources, Cont. Path

  • Barriers and Enablers for Women in Engineering (an article by National Academy of Engineers Vice President)


Credits Path

  • Created by: Alisa N. Gilmore, P.E. , University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NSF SPIRIT, July 2006

  • Updated & Enhanced July 2007

  • Comments/Feedback to: [email protected]