Considering Aspirations and Impact: Using Storytelling to Encourage Engineering Students to Reframe their Experiences Conference

Lunn, SJ, Bell-Huff, CL. (2022). Considering Aspirations and Impact: Using Storytelling to Encourage Engineering Students to Reframe their Experiences . 2022-October 10.1109/FIE56618.2022.9962453

cited authors

  • Lunn, SJ; Bell-Huff, CL



  • This research full paper describes an eight-week, extra-curricular, multi-institutional program centered around sharing personal narratives. Over the course of the experience, we provided (n = 24) engineering students with scaffolding materials to develop their storytelling skills and opportunities for them to craft and present stories around specific prompts. The program culminated in a Story Slam where students orally delivered four-minute stories that communicated "who you are, what has shaped you, and the story you want to tell with your life's work and why."The Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) framework of the 3Cs (Curiosity, Connections, and Creating value) for the development of an entrepreneurial mindset guided the programmatic development and shaped our inquiry to explore: 1) how storytelling prompts can encourage students' consideration of their goals and potential impact on society; and 2) beneficial approaches to story-driven learning. To better understand students' motivations and thoughts about the program, we qualitatively examined their open-ended responses. We also applied a rubric to quantify aspects of KEEN's 3Cs observed in videos of students' stories shared during the final Story Slam. The results suggest that storytelling can promote communication, allow students to reframe their experiences, and help them to think about their professional aspirations. Students' curiosity not only shaped their desire to participate in the program, but for many students, was also a major contributor in their pathways into engineering. The content and materials offered in the program provided foundations that students connected with, as evidenced by the information and mentions they brought into their own stories. Furthermore, the stories presented illustrate that students want to create value both personally and professionally. Students preferred to share their stories in smaller groups and also appreciated positive feedback and comments from their peers and the facilitators. Additionally, they described how listening to other students' stories helped them to grow and raised their awareness of others' lived experiences. These insights serve to inform educators about the value of storytelling and to identify opportunities to support students when employing story-driven learning.

publication date

  • January 1, 2022

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


  • 2022-October