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OU Luring More Students Searching For High Tech Futures

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ROCHESTER — As the state of Michigan and the nation as a whole work to recover from a daunting economic slowdown, Oakland University is seeing signs that young adults are interested in preparing to thrive in a more robust economic future.

The hopes of this growing population of students are focused on growth and prosperity driven in large part by new strength in the nation’s high tech and manufacturing industries.

On Saturday, Feb. 2, the university’s School of Engineering and Computer Science will host its annual Engineering and Computer Science Day — an increasingly popular event designed to introduce prospective students and their families to the many academic and research opportunities the SECS offers.

More than 200 prospective students and more than 300 guests will participate in this year’s showcase of programs and projects. This represents a better than 28 percent increase in student participation over last year’s event alone.

Christopher Kobus, an OU associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of outreach and recruitment for SECS, said that outreach efforts in the region’s K-12 community — which have included on-site visits to schools, participation in career fairs, and contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics workshops — has helped prospective students see how they can begin to pursue any of a wide array of rewarding career possibilities.

“In all of these efforts, we have been selling SECS on our biggest strengths, which include student-faculty interaction from day one and hands-on experiences throughout the curriculum,” Kobus said. “The reality is that even though attendance at our Engineering and Computer Science Day is increasing exponentially, we are hungry for even more students as we simply cannot graduate enough to fill all of the available engineering jobs out there. This is a good indication of a growing technology economy.”

Students and guests attending Saturday’s event will tour faculty research laboratories, view a wide variety of SECS student project displays and demonstrations, and begin to learn how their STEM skills can be applied to real-world problem solving and innovation.

“Participants will see full-size, industrial robots assembling parts, animations of how a spine is fastened to fuse the vertebrate with minimum surgical invasiveness and maximum effectiveness, how to make ethanol and biodiesel fuels, how to utilize solar photovoltaics to displace fossil fuels, and much more,” Kobus said. “All of these will show visitors our capabilities and infrastructure, and play up the real fact that interested students can plug into these projects even as undergraduates.”

To learn more about the 2013 Engineering and Computer Science Day, visit www.oakland.edu/secsday.

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