AN UNDERGRADUATE MATERIALS RECRUITMENT AND OUTREACH PROGRAM
This article is from refereed proceeding of American Society for Engineering Education (2007): 1.
An aggressive recruitment strategy, building on previous efforts, began in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Iowa State University in the late 1990s. Since then the population of undergraduate majors has doubled, as has the percentage of women students, and the average achievement of incoming freshmen (as measured by ACT or SAT scores, high school rank, numbers in the Honors Program, etc.) has also increased dramatically. This recruitment program has its costs; most notably in faculty and staff time. Its cornerstone is a one hour demonstration/presentation (see Appendix for complete listing of demonstrations) that incorporates audience interaction and relates materials properties to real world events (Challenger and Columbia Shuttles, the Titanic, etc.). This presentation is often featured in university and college recruitment events on campus and has been “performed” at K-12 schools and community college events around the state. It has also been given at a distance with the help of the Engineering Distance Education staff. While this is the cornerstone of the recruitment program, it by no means is the only piece. There are numerous efforts integrated in this plan including an innovative, educational, web-based scanning electron microscope that has been used across the globe.