Example of academia / industry professional organization engagement in STEM outreach activities
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© American Society for Engineering Education, 2015. The growing interest in supporting STEM disciplines creates an opportunity for professional organizations that include members from academia and industry to participate in the recruitment and engagement of K-12 students. Professional organizations, because of their industry partners and members, are often in unique situations to center on specific focus areas and are composed of individuals interested in service and outreach. Further, professional organizations are routinely managing present-day "issues" facing certain industries and / or focus areas, creating opportunities for disseminating "real-time" relevance to prospective young students. This paper highlights the efforts of one such professional organization - the Central States Section of the Combustion Institute (CSS/CI) - in creating and executing an Outreach Program that solicits and funds proposals from high school teachers who use the funds to augment their science / engineering classes with some exposure to combustion. The program, now in its fourth year with four successful competition windows, has created opportunities for members of academia and industry to become exposed to issues that K-12 educators face in terms of engaging students in STEM disciplines. The objective of this paper is to provide a guide for professional organizations that consist of members of academia and industry to use in creating their own outreach program and to identify opportunities for bridging the gap between professional organizations and K-12 students and educators. The paper describes the process for developing the CSS/CI program, summarizes "lessons-learned" and provides what are believed to be essential features for making a K-12 outreach program successful.
author list (cited authors)
Jacobs, T. J., & Baukal, C. E.