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ERIC Number: EJ1115667
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1557-5284
First-Year Students' Attitudes towards the Grand Challenges and Nanotechnology
Lakin, Joni M.; Han, Yi; Davis, Edward
Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research, v17 n3 p70-76 Jul-Sep 2016
The "Grand Challenges" for Engineering are an effort to portray engineering as a field that has profound impacts on society. This study explores the level of interest first-year engineering students had in various "Grand Challenges" and in nanotechnology topics. We administered a survey to a large sample of students enrolled in a pre-engineering course at a four-year, research-focused institution. The survey measured students' interest in nanotechnology and the "Challenges", their perception of the relationship between nanotechnology and the "Challenges", and their attitudes and self-reported knowledge about nanotechnology. The most interesting topics related to high-profile issues (such as reverse-engineering the brain) as well as topics that have a pro-social component (such as access to clean water). For female students, advancing health informatics and engineering better medicines were especially interesting, while URM students were more drawn to nanotechnology and virtual reality. These results will help educators developing engineering curricula emphasize engaging topics that better promote persistence and diversity in engineering.
Institute for STEM Education and Research. P.O. Box 4001, Auburn, AL 36831. Tel: 334-844-3360; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Tests/Questionnaires; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: 1446060