Inclusion for the win
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STEM robotics competitions are a motivator to pursue engineering for many students. But for underrepresented students, including females, the economically underprivileged and people of color, this engineering gateway isn’t always accessible.
John Haughery, ISU ABE assistant professor, is researching the structural factors that inhibit underrepresented students from participating in robotic contests. The end goal is to overcome low engagement levels for these groups.
In his research, Haughery and his team will define the typical composition of the people and institutions who participate in robotics competitions and barriers that exist.
“Educational and career benefits from participating in robotic contests are well documented,” Haughery says. “Based on pilot results, real engagement barriers have surfaced. By identifying significant structural elements that negatively impact participation, we expect to counteract issues of engagement, inclusion and diversity in STEM robotics contests.”