The UTeachEngineering Project at The University of Texas

Presenters: Cheryl Farmer, Lisa Guerra
The UTeachEngineering project at The University of Texas, in partnership with NASA, has undertaken to demonstrate how rigorous engineering content can be deployed in secondary classrooms by developing and piloting a year-long high school engineering course built on a foundation of research in the learning sciences, couched in the context of a rigorous engineering design process, and scaffolded to build engineering skills and habits of mind. This session provides an overview of the Engineer Your World course and its supporting professional development, offers early results from the 2011–2012 course pilot, and presents future plans for employing human and technological resources to support teachers and students in this emerging field.

About the Presenters:
Cheryl Farmer, Project Director, The University of Texas at Austin
Cheryl Farmer is the founding program manager and project director of UTeachEngineering. Funded through the National Science Foundation, UTeachEngineering offers a well-designed, well-rounded, design-based high school engineering course that can be implemented at low cost in virtually any setting, as well as a variety of professional development programs for pre-service and in-service teachers who want to add engineering to their teaching portfolios. Farmer’s work in higher education includes the development and launch of an academic enrichment and mentorship program for university freshmen and the direction of a university-based teacher professional development program for primary teachers seeking to integrate science and mathematics instruction through engineering-inspired applications. Before entering higher education, Farmer worked as a project manager in the environmental field. Farmer was a recipient of the Dodd Teaching Excellence Award from the Department of Mathematics at The University of Texas at Austin. Her education includes graduate work in mathematics and business administration, and a BA in Mathematics and Liberal Arts, with highest honors, from The University of Texas at Austin.

Lisa Guerra, Research Fellow, University of Texas at Austin and Senior Advisor for Policy, NASA Headquarters
Lisa Guerra works within The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering on an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) assignment first to develop a systems engineering curriculum in the Aerospace Engineering Department and then, over this past year, to infuse the UTeachEngineering program with those same elements of systems engineering and NASA design challenges for a high school offering. As part of the UTeachEngineering effort, Guerra is developing an engineer-mentor program to enable high school teachers to teach engineering design. Guerra also serves as a faculty sponsor for WIALD (Women in Aerospace Leadership and Development) club started last year. Guerra started her career at Eagle Engineering Corporation in Houston focusing on conceptual design of advanced spacecraft for human missions to the Moon and Mars. Guerra continued working on space exploration-oriented assignments at SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation) in support of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Guerra has over twenty years of experience in the NASA aerospace community. Guerra’s most recent position at NASA Headquarters was acting director of the Directorate Integration Office in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. At NASA, Guerra has also worked in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate as special assistant to the associate administrator, managed the Decadal Planning Team, and spent three years at the Goddard Space Flight Center as program integration manager for the James Webb Space Telescope. She was also an initial member of the NASA Independent Program Analysis Office. Guerra is a contributing author to the McGraw-Hill textbook, Human Spaceflight: Mission Analysis and Design. Guerra earned a BS in Aerospace Engineering and a BA in English from the University of Notre Dame. She received an MS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.