Purdue University Graduate School
2023.10.17 Tonya Madora Isabell.pdf (4.03 MB)


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posted on 2023-10-18, 18:21 authored by Tonya IsabellTonya Isabell


Currently, only 22% of high school graduates meet the basic requirements for one or more college courses in mathematics, science, reading, or English signifying fewer students with the skills to enter careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) (Smithsonian Science Education Center, 2015). In contrast, science and engineering employment in the United States has grown more rapidly than the overall workforce and now represents 5% of all jobs which is projected to increase to 8% by 2029 (Khan et al., 2020). The current statistics represent a future labor force entering the labor market without the skills needed to obtain a large portion of future occupations. To bridge this gap, the U.S. Federal government outlined a vision with three goals to provide Americans access to high-quality STEM education to increase the skills of the future workforce (National Science & Technology Council, 2018). The three goals include 1) building a strong foundation for STEM literacy; 2) increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM; 3) preparing the STEM workers for the future (National Science & Technology Council, 2018). As the economy and workforce develop in future years, students will require a high-quality STEM education to enter this growing workforce to meet the goals of the federal government and the needs of future occupations. Robotic platforms are diverse and have the ability to provide students with instant feedback, integrate multiple subjects during the design challenge, and support self-efficacy development through mastery events where students practice skills until they receive a favorable result. Robotics in a life-centered context could interest a diverse range of young adults into STEM career fields. This study implements robotic learning activies in an assistive technology context which centers around improving the lives of living organisms.


the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 2133028


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Technology Leadership and Innovation

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Nathan Mentzer

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Greg Strimel

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Todd Kelley

Additional Committee Member 4

Dr. Sunnie Watson