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Prof. Morgan Hynes receives NSF CAREER award

Event Date: January 29, 2015
Morgan Hynes Video Image
Morgan Hynes, assistant professor in the School of Engineering Education, is the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award.

Hynes received funding to investigate how grades 5-8 students’ engagement in and perceptions of engineering are influenced through participating in certain engineering challenges. The specific aim of the project is to develop engineering curriculum materials that intentionally integrate students’ personal interests in engineering design challenges.
 
Hynes believes this work addresses the issue of diversity among engineers.
 
“Even with the increased national attention of the profession, the representation of women and minorities in engineering remains dismal,” he says.
 
Various surveys show less than 20% of engineering majors are women. Similarly, underrepresented minorities, such as African Americans and Hispanics, are represented at rates less than half (relative to their representative population) with little sign of improvement.
 
“By presenting engineering in broader contexts, we’ll investigate whether more students are able to identify their own personal interests in the engineering challenge, which could result in a more positive perception of engineering,” Hynes says.
 
The research is comprised of three studies: 1) students’ interests interview study; 2) classroom simulation study; and 3) classroom implementation study. Findings from all three studies will inform the design and implementation of an interest-based engineering curricular approach.
 
The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is an NSF-wide activity that offers the Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of these two activities within the context of the mission of their organizations.