Wayne State Engineering Students Fueling STEM Programs For Youth

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Wayne State engineering students volunteering at last year's YES! Expo, which drew thousands of high school students to science and technology exhibits.

Wayne State engineering students volunteering at last year’s YES! Expo, which drew thousands of high school students to science and technology exhibits.

DETROIT — In case classes, co-ops, extracurricular activities, work and other commitments weren’t enough, a growing number of Wayne State University College of Engineering students are dedicating their free time to promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers to Michigan youth.

“There’s really no limit to what you can achieve with a STEM degree, especially in engineering or computer science,” says Norman Dotson, senior industrial and systems engineering student and president of Wayne State’s Engineering Student Faculty Board. “Our goal is to bring greater awareness to these fields and help middle and high schools students realize that they have the ability to excel.”

In the last year alone, Wayne State engineering and computer science students volunteered their time by delivering presentations, setting up booths, and giving hands-on demonstrations at regional events such as Yes!Expo and international events like FIRST Robotics.

“More than 19,000 students in grades 8-12 registered for the Yes!Expo in November,” Dotson said. “More than 70 Wayne State College of Engineering students volunteered for the event. I was so proud of our passionate and engaged students. The excitement was contagious.”

Wayne State engineering and computer science students have played significant roles in the Detroit-Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP), WSU’s Gaining Options-Girls Investigate Real Life (GO-GIRL) program, the Michigan Department of Transportation Youth Development and Mentoring Program (MDOT YDMP) and with the Department of Computer Science’s summer camps.

They also plan their own STEM-focused events. Take, for instance, an event in which civil engineering students introduced basic engineering concepts to area youth at the Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development (LA SED) Youth Center in southwest Detroit. Or, a recent event called FutureSWE, which was planned entirely by the Wayne State chapter of the Society of Women Engineers during National Engineers Week.

“We welcomed more than 65 male and female high school students to campus to learn more about the many different fields of engineering,” said Aliya Jawad, SWE community outreach coordinator. “Nearly 50 current Wayne State engineering and computer science students volunteered at the event, which featured a talk by Professor Sandro da Rocha, activities and lab tours.”

Engineers Week at Wayne State also featured an educational event by the Institute of Industrial Engineers’ student chapter that introduced Chandler Park High School students to engineering and an EcoCAR 2 presentation and garage tour that allowed attendees to learn about the project and competition.

“Our students are outstanding,” said Wayne State College of Engineering Dean Farshad Fotouhi. “They are energetic, intelligent and incredibly motivated. Their ability to connect with and educate area youth is remarkable. We are grateful to them for their continued efforts.”

More at http://engineering.wayne.edu.

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