468466 Engaging High School Students and Their Parents in STEM through Engineering Outreach
The event is broken into two parts. In the morning, students carry out three different hands-on lab modules. These lab modules evolve every year but focus on chemical engineering concepts such as process engineering to make cosmetics, DNA extraction, and properties of polymers such as silly putty rheology. Parents participate in workshops and seminars to understand the college application process, STEM careers, and college life. After lunch, students collaborate with their parents in a team lab, typically relating to surface chemistry and transport processes. This lab gives the parents to experience engineering themselves and see their daughters excelling in the activity. To quantify the impact our event has on the participants and garner feedback, we collect extensive survey data before and after the day-long event. Our first classes of students (2010-2012) have finally reached college-age and recent follow-up surveys tell us the longer term impact our event has had on their career paths, which has been substantial. In this talk, I will go over some of the past modules we designed and explain how the outreach event is organized. I will conclude with presenting some of the survey data that quantifies the impact our event has with promoting engineering with the surrounding rural community.