Closing the Equity Gap Through Education, Entrepreneurship and Employment
Ann Kaiser is a former engineer with 15 years experience in secondary education. A graduate of Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (B.S. Metallurgy and Materials Science) and the School of International and Public Affairs (Masters in International Affairs), she is a lifelong advocate of engineering as an agent for creative global problem-solving and innovation. As a member of the prestigious International Fellows program at Columbia, Ann focused on work involving world resources and technology transfer. As an engineer, her field of expertise was product and market development in the metals industry. As an educator, Ann’s main interest is in attracting creative, innovative young people to technical fields by exposing them to the possibilities and promises of engineering.
Following a career change from engineering product development to secondary school teaching, Ann became interested in active learning techniques, particularly project-based learning. Her concern about the lack of encouragement for creativity and innovative thinking in traditional science courses led her to replace verification labs with engineering design based projects. Increased student interest led her to develop a separate Engineering Design curriculum 5 years ago. That course has seen quadrupled enrollment and has increased the number of students who go on to pursue engineering majors in college. It has also led to an increased commitment to providing some engineering experience to students in all science classes by replacing existing lab activities with design projects.
Ann was named a Fulbright Distinguished Teacher in 2013. She spent six months in Singapore working to implement Engineering Design projects as Performance Tasks in secondary physics classes. Ann is a member of the Network of Science Teachers (a selective MIT collaboration with science teachers on an international level), NSTA, RISTA, ASEE, ITEEA, AAPT, and ASCD. Ann has presented at numerous regional, national and international conferences. She has authored several technical papers detailing her research in Singapore and the effectiveness of the Engineering Design process in learning science concepts. Ann is currently in the process of writing a book designed to demystify and modularize the use of Engineering Design in secondary science courses.