Summary: Much work has been done and is being done to increase the number and diversity of students choosing an engineering career pathway. 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. In this interactive presentation, Dr. Hynes will present his hypothesis that current engineering education outreach and curricular activities have done a great job at appealing to students’ situational interests, but not such a great job at appealing to the diversity of students’ personal interests. The presentation will include discussion of data from a study on students’ interests and understandings of engineering, and the development of an instrument to measure fit between students’ personal interests and their perceptions of engineering. The talk concludes with a discussion of a framework for engineering activities that integrate students’ personal interests, and rich examples of such activities.
Biography: Morgan Hynes is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University and Director of the FACE Lab research group. In his research, Hynes explores the use of engineering to integrate academic subjects in K-12 classrooms. Specific research interests include 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. He currently serves as the chair of the American Society of Engineering Education’s (ASEE) Pre-College Engineering Education Division’s Diversity Committee, and Thought Leader for Pre-College Engineering Engagement for the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Administrators (NAMEPA).