The American Society for Engineering Education has awarded Assistant Professor Sue Kasun with its William Elgin Wickenden Award.
The award recognizes an article published in the Journal of Engineering Education – the premiere journal of engineering education – “that represents the highest standards of scholarly research in engineering education” in that calendar year, according to the society’s website.
Kasun’s article, entitled, “Latina/o Adolescents’ Funds of Knowledge Related to Engineering,” appeared in the journal’s April 2016 issue and explores the relationship between engineering cultural practices and Latino students’ familial and community settings.
“There is a huge underrepresentation of Latinos in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers, often because the field can seem alienating to Latino youth in school,” said Kasun, who co-authored the article with faculty from Utah State University, Angelo State University and Virginia Tech. “This work examined outcomes of a carefully designed funds of knowledge informal engineering project designed to tap into Latino adolescents’ funds of knowledge — the accumulated cultural and familial knowledge sources that are not often drawn upon in formal schooling.”
Kasun and her fellow researchers worked with seven groups of Latino students to see how they applied engineering practices to solve real problems the students identified themselves, like designing a water catchment system for rainy regions of Honduras. Their article explored how these students worked through the problems before them and demonstrated their STEM prowess.
“The research showed that Latino youth indeed can be positioned as engineers and are just as eager to engage in engineering-oriented problem-solving as anyone else, especially when their own insights are valued as a part of the design process,” she explained.
Kasun will be recognized for this honor at the society’s annual conference in Columbus, Ohio, in June.
“I’m honored to be recognized among great scholars who have envisioned ways to bring much-needed perspectives to STEM fields, and I’m encouraged that our work has been highlighted in this way,” she added.
For more information about the award, visit https://www.asee.org/member-resources/awards.