«Strengthening the Nation through Diversity, Innovation & Leadership in STEM San Antonio,Texas · October 3-6, 2013 Get Connected! Connect with the ...»
Ecologists are addressing complex research questions that require data collected over large spatial and fine temporal scales. To acquire such datasets, researchers are deploying diverse automated sensors to augment and, in some cases, replace manual data collection. Sensors can collect continuous data streams for sustained periods at relatively low cost. However, increased sensor deployment has presented new challenges to ecologists including the management of complex datasets, data integration, and data discovery, access, and sharing. Of benefit to ecologists is a relatively simple data-management system that is free, modular, and scalable. Such a system would ideally provide an interface for data entry or import, a backend database for data storage and documentation, and a web interface for data visualization. In an attempt to manage the data collected by UTEP’s Systems Ecology Lab (SEL) at the USDA Jornada Experimental Range (JER), we have devised a relational database schema that handles a range of data types collected at a typical terrestrial ecological research site. This database is scalable to easily incorporate new datasets over time without the need to create new entities or relationships, handles data imported from external sources, and can be accessed through a web interface. This poster presentation provides an overview of this schema and discusses the relative challenges and features of our research to date.
SKIN CANCER IDENTIFICATION SYSTEMDeborah Bobbio, Charles Norona, James Poe, Miguel Alonso.
School of Engineering + Technology, Miami Dade College, Miami, FL.
Cancer is a prominent cause of death worldwide and the second leading cause of death in the United States. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. A skin lesion has certain characteristics that can be analyzed in order to determine if it has the possibility of being cancerous or not. These characteristics are categorized into four different criteria called the ABCDs of skin cancer: asymmetry, border, color, and diameter. The goal of this research is to develop an Android-based application able to compute and score images of lesions with the criteria used in the dermatological ABCD standard. The scores obtained by the application could potentially be used to aid physicians in the assessment of suspected lesions. This application is still in development and is currently in its final stages for determining the asymmetry ratio of a skin mole by analyzing sample images of lesions through their shape characteristics. Asymmetry is defined as a shape that is disproportional and in violation of symmetry. In order to check this trait, the application analyzes the lesion by fitting an ellipse around it, then dividing the lesion through its major axis in order to compare one area to the other. Any significant deviation of areas would be considered asymmetrical on the axis that separates the two sets. Although still in development, the initial testing results are encouraging and demonstrate that an application of this nature is feasible and can be a helpful tool in identifying early signs of cancer.
Research-based curricular materials, particularly at the university physics level, have been available for decades, but it is unclear why some faculties choose to use them and others don’t seem convinced of their effectiveness.
Researchers Melissa Dancy and Charles Henderson have begun to cast light on this question through their numerous studies. Their findings suggest that teachers and change agents (those supporting and advocating the pedagogical change) are not always working together to effectively implement the alternative curricular materials. This barrier often originates from the faculty members not wanting to feel like their teaching methods are no longer applicable. Another identified barrier comes from the students being reluctant to engage in the practices that accompany researchbased instructional strategies, such as working in small groups in class. The driving question of this work is,“How does feedback from students influence instructors’ pedagogical decisions in the classroom, and to what extent are students’ concerns reflective of the learning that occurs in the classroom?” This study was conducted by studying 15 faculty members from different universities over the course of 6 semesters. Numerous data streams were collected, including web surveys and one-on-one interviews. The web-based surveys captured logistical information, and the interviews were conducted at the end of the semester to probe the instructors’ perceptions of their own and their students’ performance. Students’ learning was measured via a course-appropriate conceptual test such as the Force Concept Inventory, and student evaluations of instruction were also collected. We will present notable trends in our data corpus.
EDUCATIONAL GOALS AND ATTAINABILITY FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE AFRICAN AMERICANCOMMUNITY Lynnette Allen, Christopher Span.
College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL.
The achievement gap between White and African American students in the United States has been studied in depth, but these studies often fail to apply a historical lens to evaluate the achievements of a historically disadvantaged race. This research argues that, instead of using the achievement gap to evaluate two groups with very different histories, an intergenerational comparison is needed to evaluate how the expectations for African American educational achievement have changed since the passing of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965.
In addition to historicizing African American achievement, this research draws on survey data that evaluates present day expectations that African Americans have of schools. This methodology is applied to assess whether enhanced accessibility increases educational expectations and if increased educational expectations equates to increased achievement. This research seeks to shift the discourse on African American students from deficit thinking to educational success.
HIGH-STAKES TESTING AND ITS AFFECT ON MINORITIESChealci Eddins1, Julian Heillig2.
College of Natural Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, 2University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX.
1 This study examines student motivation and achievement at the high school level in relation to the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills exit-level tests. This test is given to assess students’ knowledge and determine the performance level of the school. The students’ scores determine if they move on to the next grade level. The exit-level exam, given to students in the 11th grade, determines if a student will graduate. There are questions if these highstakes exams measure a student’s success accurately. Students are being held back in their current grade levels, including not being able to graduate, if they do not receive passing scores on these high-stakes exams. The above observations have led the authors to explore the impact of exit testing on African American students. How do African
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American students perceive exit testing to impact their motivation? Ten simultaneous interviews will be conducted with students. In these interviews, the author will be engaging in a conversation with each student about their journey on taking the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test. Using these qualitative interviews, the authors are trying to find a correlation between students’ exam results and their motivation in regards to their education.
SERVICE LEARNING AS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR FIRST-YEAR ENGINEERING STUDENTSShawn Ríos, Ricardo Machón.
Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA.
In the changing atmosphere of engineering, professionals are encouraged to actively participate in service projects.
Similarly, those studying to become engineers take part in volunteer work. However, for first-year engineering students, it is difficult to understand how to use their skill set to help a community in need. To comprehend the unique intersection of engineering and service, the current exploratory survey was conducted to understand the importance students place on their involvement in service. The hypothesis of this study is that first-year students are uninterested in service opportunities, and possible ways of making service appealing to the participants will be made clear. Firstyear engineering students from Loyola Marymount University, a service-oriented Catholic university, were asked about their interest and participation in service. Through the survey, results detailing the most effective methods of communication will pave the way for increased activity in service, as well as preparing students for a professional career in the engineering industry. After all surveys are administered and analyzed, the results will be the basis for building a curriculum that will engage and encourage first-year students to become service-minded engineers.
HOW IMPORTANT IS CULTURAL RELEVANCE TO OUT-OF-SCHOOL SCIENCE PROGRAMS? FINDINGS FROM
SURVEYS AND INTERVIEWS WITH PROGRAM LEADERSMelissa Arreola Pena, Heather Thiry, Sandra Laursen, Tim Archie.
University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO.
Out-of-school-time (OST) youth science programs are designed to engage students and support them in pursuing future career paths in science. The OST programs can be a foundation for a successful future for students before they continue to college. Our research study, Mapping Out-of-School-Time Science (MOST-Science), examines a national sample of OST programs focused on science, engineering, and/or technology. Here we describe first findings about the characteristics of programs including aspects of program design and youth audience. Using an electronic survey, we collected data from 417 programs. We also conducted 53 interviews with program directors to help us see other dimensions on which the surveys might not have touched. Program directors mentioned it is important for OST programs to be culturally relevant to students to be able to have a successful program. The interviewees explained how some programs expose students to science to continue learning and pursuing science as a career path, but other programs encourage students to find their own passions which might be outside the sciences. Program directors also said it is very important to know what troubles students outside of school to understand their personal and family needs and to help them feel they belong in the program. We will share examples on how organization leaders use culturally relevant programming to retain their students and lead them in taking college-bound paths and community leadership roles.
RESEARCH WITHIN THE ADVANCING OUT-OF-SCHOOL LEARNING IN MATHEMATICS AND ENGINEERING
(AOLME) PROJECT: ADDRESSING LATINO/A STUDENTS’ IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT IN THE FIELD OF
ENGINEERINGIvonne Orozco, Sylvia Celedón-Pattichis.
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.
Percentages on eighth-grade mathematics national performance show that fewer than 8% of students achieve the excellence level. Additionally, culturally and linguistically diverse students are still underrepresented in STEM fields.
AOLME’s central aim is to design and implement an integrated curriculum in mathematics and engineering for middle
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school students from underrepresented groups. Students’ perceived engineering identity and its development is documented through observations of students’ participation and identity surveys. This qualitative study includes students from fifth through eighth grades. The program was implemented for 3 weeks during the summer of 2012 and 10 weeks during the spring of 2013. Video recordings of each session and the students’ notebooks used to record their learning experiences were used as tools to track the development of attitudes and identity throughout the program. Preliminary findings indicate that students who do not see themselves as being doers of engineering or mathematics at the beginning of the program develop a more positive technical identity after they experience the
COLLEGE PREPARATION PROGRAMS: MINORITY STUDENTS’ EDUCATIONAL ASPIRATIONS AND
MATHEMATICAL ACHIEVEMENT IN URBAN SETTINGSAbigail Lopez, Eduardo Mosqueda.
University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA.
Recent research has shown the high failure rates of Latina/os and African American students in low funded urban schools. In 2010, Latina/os and African Americans in California had drop-out rates of 21.9% and 29.2%. College preparation programs have been placed in low-funded communities in order to lower this high failure rate. In this study, we examine the complex relationship of students’ participation in college preparation programs along with their own educational aspirations to observe how this impacts minority students’ mathematical achievement in schools.