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School of Engineering partners with NM high schools to teach engineering in the classroom

May 18, 2020 - by Kim Delker

The University of New Mexico has recently signed on as a member of Engineering for Us All (E4USA), which is a National Science Foundation-funded pilot program to bring engineering courses to high schools.

UNM’s School of Engineering will partner with Sandia Prep High School in Albuquerque and Mescalero Apache High School in Mescalero, N.M., to bring design-based introductory engineering courses to students.

The partnership will launch in fall 2020.

The mission of the E4USA program is to expand access to engineering for high school students, encouraging them to see themselves as engineers, as well as helping them recognize the role of engineers in society.

Charles Fleddermann, associate dean for academic affairs and community engagement in the UNM School of Engineering, said that the partnership will be a great way to reach new populations of students who may be interested in studying engineering in college, whether that is at UNM or another institution.

“Recruitment of future engineers is crucial to our nation’s future, and this program is an innovative way to introduce students who might never have thought of engineering as a career to learn what engineers do, as well as what it takes to become one,” he said. “It will be an effective complement to the many outreach and recruitment activities the School of Engineering is already involved in.”

According to the terms of the partnership, UNM Engineering will provide mentoring and curriculum support to their partner high schools, as well as technical support in implementing the curriculum. Each teacher at partner institutions will receive a stipend from the partner university, as well as funding to classroom materials and supplies.

E4USA was launched in fall 2019 in high schools across the United States, initiated by Arizona State University, University of Maryland, Morgan State University, Vanderbilt University and Virginia Tech.

This academic year, E4USA has reached about 400 students, and in the 2020-21 academic year, it is estimated that it will reach over 2,000 students.

The E4USA program also fills a current gap in engineering education training by recruiting high school teachers of all disciplines. No prior engineering experience is required to become an E4USA teacher. In addition to intensive online and in-person professional learning opportunities for participating teachers, E4USA uses a partnership model that pairs high school teachers with engineering professors at local universities to provide support for the instruction of the course.

The E4USA curriculum is available to schools free of charge. Participating pilot teachers receive a stipend as well as funds to purchase classroom materials.