Broadening Participation of Latina/o Students in Engineering Using an Integrated Mathematics, Engineering and Computing Curriculum in Authentic, Out-of-School Environments

PI: Sylvia Celedón-Pattichis, Professor, Department of Language Literacy & SocioculturalStudies

Co PI:  Marios Pattichis, Professor,Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Co PI: Carlos LópezLeiva, AssistantProfessor, Department of Language Literacy & SocioculturalStudies

Total Award: $1,187,070
Project Period: 9/1/16 through 8/31/19

Dr. Celedon-Pattichis

Dr. Sylvia Celedón-Pattichis

Dr. Celedon-Pattichis

Dr. Marios Pattichis

Dr. LopezLeiva

Dr. Carlos LópezLeiva

This National Science Foundation funded strategy project focuses on current concerns of test accountability, especially for underperforming schools that often serve Latinas/os, that force schools to focus on the topics and areas that these tests examine. This alarming situation, combined with the underperformance of this student population in mathematics and science, has raised a national priority in education of promoting the integration and teaching of engineering and mathematics in secondary schools.

The project’s central aims are twofold: 1) to broaden participation and to motivate middle school students, including bilingual Latina/o students, to pursue STEM careers, and; 2) to promote college-level and workforce practices with this student population through the implementation of an integrated mathematics and engineering curriculum. Building on an established interdisciplinary four-year collaboration, experts from computer engineering and bilingual/mathematics education join to implement, revise, and disseminate an integrated curriculum as well as to research teaching practices that best support the participation and learning of middle school students in rural and urban settings. The integrated curriculum and out­of-school settings in two predominantly Latina/o middle schools serve as the context for this project.

This project reflects a transformative approach by exploring middle school students’ STEM learning of college and workforce practices in urban and rural contexts, not only in their roles as students in their original teams, but also as co-facilitators of the curriculum in a cohort with new students. Because the study also explores the reasons for the non-participation in middle school students at the two hosting schools, this study will yield data on voices of those who are not involved in STEM-­related projects, a situation that promises to illuminate factors that may be rather hidden or ignored, and yet are relevant to increase and broaden the participation of predominantly Latina/o students.

The project will provide a framework that can be expanded to other K­12 educational levels. Informed by the on­site implementations, the integrated curriculum will be adapted based on teachers’ and participants’ recommendations to support sustainable implementations by the schools. The project will impact a cohort of future practitioners and researchers in STEM fields as the program will recruit undergraduate and graduate students from engineering and mathematics/bilingual education interested in the research and improvement of teaching/learning practices in mathematics and engineering education. A group of middle school students who have completed the curriculum will serve as co-­facilitators of the curriculum.

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