Development and Evaluation of a Framework for Mentor-Based Engineering Outreach

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Diversity in engineering teams and organizations is needed to solve the complex challenges the world is facing. However, the number of people from historically underrepresented groups—such as women, Indigenous, Black, and Hispanic engineers—falls short of parity with the population [1-4].Mentoring programs successfully improve interest in engineering and perceptions of the field for people in the groups mentioned above [5-8]. Mentor-based outreach is a growing practice that attracts these historically excluded people to study engineering. While frameworks exist for implementing outreach and mentoring programs, there is not yet a framework that informs mentor-based engineering outreach. A solid framework is needed to improve practices and outcomes. In this thesis, I use in-depth analysis of a local mentor-based engineering outreach initiative and review twenty-four external programs to develop a framework for mentor-based engineering outreach. The final framework includes six critical dimensions and eight components to inform design, implementation, and evaluation of programs. This research also shows how structuring mentor-based outreach around technical skill development and relationships encourages positive social and personal development outcomes, such as increasing student interest in engineering. Ultimately, this work provides practitioners and organizations with direction for improving diversity within outreach programs.
engineering education, mentoring, STEM outreach, K-12 outreach
Dornian, K. (2022). Development and Evaluation of a Framework for Mentor-Based Engineering Outreach (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from