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Assessing Effectiveness of K12 Outreach Programs In Attracting Underrepresented Students To Engineering Programs: State of The Practice
Despite various incentives and outreach programs to promote the attraction of underrepresented K-12 students to the engineering field, engineering programs still have one of the lowest shares of women and minority students. The attraction rates of underrepresented students have not risen significantly within the past two decades. The research aims to review the current state of K-12 outreach programs and assess the effectiveness of different outreach strategies in increasing the number of women and minority students in Engineering programs. First, through a comprehensive review of the literature, we identify an extensive list of strategies for encouraging women and minority students to pursue higher education in Engineering, focusing on colleges and universities in the Southeast region. Then a holistic review of the website of these institutions was conducted to investigate various approaches of outreach programs. The collected data was compared with the gathered enrollment profile of the given institutions to find a possible relationship between changes in the enrollment rate of female students from 2016 to 2020 and the type of the investigated outreach programs. However, a clear pattern could not be found based on the domain of available data, and the need for detailed data was identified for future studies. Finally, the paper concludes with a list of recommendations to improve the impact of K-12 outreach programs to attract underrepresented students to engineering majors.