Broaden participation in engineering? Broaden contexts

Morgan Hynes
Morgan Hynes

Much work has been done and is being done to increase the number and diversity of students choosing engineering career pathways.

The evaluation of various curricular and programmatic interventions aimed at improving students’ attitudes and beliefs about engineering have documented success in the form of increased positive gains. However, the numbers of students choosing engineering career pathways has not seen any significant change.

Morgan Hynes, assistant professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University and director of the FACE Lab research group, will visit NIU from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, to talk on “Broadening Contexts to Broaden Participation in Engineering.”

His interactive presentation, hosted by the NIU PROMISE Scholars Program, will take place in the Regency Room of Holmes Student Center.

Hynes will present his hypothesis that current engineering education outreach activities have done a great job at appealing to students’ situational interests, but not such a great job at appealing to diverse students’ personal interests. The presentation will include discussion of data from a study on students’ interests and understandings of engineering, a framework for engineering activities that integrate students’ personal interests, and rich examples of such activities.

FACE labIn his research, Hynes explores the use of engineering to integrate academic subjects in K-12 classrooms, including:

  • how broad contexts for engineering activities can appeal to a more diverse group of students;
  • how pre-college students engage in engineering design practices; and
  • the relationships among the attitudes, beliefs, motivation, cognitive skills and engineering skills of K-16 engineering learners.

Space is limited and lunch is provided; RSVP no later than Friday, Feb. 12, to (815) 753-9222 or promise_scholars@niu.edu.

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