UAB K-12 Workforce Development Project 2012

Principal Investigator: Dr. Virginia Sisiopiku

Final Report


This task is charged with workforce development K-12 efforts in support of STRIDE’s workforce development and outreach efforts. UAB is planning to organize two Family Engineering Night events to spark interest of elementary school children in Alabama in engineering in general, and transportation engineering careers in particular.

The UAB proposing team will approach a minimum of two elementary schools in the Birmingham, AL region and work with PTA and school administration to set up a Family Engineering Night event at each school in the spring of 2013.  Each event will provide ample opportunities for engineering education of participants through fun, hands-on engineering activities.  The target age group would be 8-11 year olds, however, parents and caregivers would be also encouraged to team up with their child in select activities.

Modeled after the Family Engineering event hosted by UF last year and taking advantage of resources available at, UAB will select eight to ten activities and one engineering challenge for each event. Families will spent the first hour moving through the activity stations and the second hour watching a short video and working on the engineering challenge. Student members of the UAB ITE student chapter and other engineering student volunteers will help run the activity stations under the supervision of UAB faculty members.  Moreover, students will assist with event set-up, registration of participants, and other event logistics.

Plan of Work:

Task 1. Contact local elementary school administrators and PTAs; present program details and benefits; obtain commitment for participation; and select event dates that accommodate both school and university schedules

Task 2. Order Family Engineering book; review and select age-appropriate activities and engineering challenges

Task 3. Develop promotional materials and advertise event through school website, newsletter, and backpack mail

Task 4. Order materials for activities and develop a brief event evaluation form.

Task 5. Train student volunteers in preparation for the event

Task 6. Conduct two Family Engineering Night events at local elementary schools; gather relevant performance indicators; invite local news media and/or publish briefs about the event at local newspaper and newsletters

Task 7. Summarize activities, performance indicators, and participants’ feedback  in a report according to STRIDE reporting requirements.

The project will be completed within 18 months, with expected start date of June 15, 2012.

The project will be led by Dr. Virginia Sisiopiku who also serves as the STRIDE workforce development representative on behalf of UAB.  She will be assisted by Mr. Andrew Sullivan will provide guidance and help with the event coordination and deliver.  An hourly graduate student in the CEE department will provide assistance with various project tasks.

This project directly supports the STRIDE’s commitment for workforce development.  The planned activities focus on delivery of educational programs that actively engage elementary-aged children in engineering activities relating to transportation. By exploring engineering concepts and engaging in hands-on activities participating children and their parents and other caregivers can be exposed to the world of engineering, and develop positive attitudes about engineering as a possible career in the future.