Engineering Science Reform

Engineering Science Reform

Grand Ballroom

The past decade has witnessed reforms in science education across the globe. Among these has been the introduction of engineering into preK-12 standards, classrooms, out-of-school settings, and informal learning spaces. The diversity of student ideas and experiences in today’s classrooms represents an opportunity to foster a generation of creative problem solvers that will shape their world. This talk explores synergies between engineering and science. It presents conceptual frameworks and equity-oriented curricular design principles for engineering education that invite participation by all learners. Curricular examples and short classroom videos illustrate how well-designed resources can engage students in authentic engineering challenges and practices that develop their engineering and science knowledge, abilities, and identities. Reflections on changes spurred by the integration of engineering and possibilities for future reform efforts are considered.

About the Speaker

Christine Cunningham aims to make engineering, science, and computational thinking education more equitable, especially for populations that are underrepresented in STEM. She is a Professor of Practice in Education and Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. Cunningham is the founding director of Youth Engineering Solutions (YES), which develops equity-oriented, research-based, field-tested curricula and professional learning resources for preK-8 youth and their educators. Her research focuses on articulating frameworks for precollege engineering education and exploring affordances of engineering for learners. She has secured over $45 million in grants to fund her work and research. Christine’s book, Engineering in Elementary STEM Education, describes her groundbreaking work in engineering education.

Previously, Cunningham was a vice president at the Museum of Science in Boston where she was the founding director of Engineering is Elementary (EiE), which reached 200,000 educators and 20 million children under her leadership. She has served as the Director of the Tufts University Center for Engineering Educational Outreach, where her work focused on integrating engineering with science, technology, and math in professional development for K-12 teachers. She also directed the Women’s Experiences in College Engineering (WECE) project, the first national, longitudinal, large-scale study of the factors that support young women pursuing engineering degrees.

Cunningham currently serves as a Curriculum Specialist on the National Assessment Governing Board and the Chair of the National Academy of Engineering’s Inclusive, Diverse, Equitable Engineering, for All (IDEEA) Committee. She is a fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education and has received numerous awards including the American Society of Engineering Education K-12 and Pre-College Division Lifetime Achievement Award, the IEEE Pre-University Educator Award, and the International Society for Design and Development in Education Prize. In 2017, her work was recognized with the prestigious Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education. Christine holds joint B.A. and M.A. degrees in biology from Yale University and a Ph.D. in Education from Cornell University.