The University of Indianapolis’ R.B. Annis School of Engineering recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to connect high school students and teachers to the field of engineering. The funds are part of a larger $4 million grant distribution made to UIndy and partnering institutions including Arizona State University, Morgan State University, and the University of Maryland.
During the next three years, the R.B. Annis School, the University of Indianapolis School of Education, and their partners will use the funds to broaden the impact of Engineering for US All (e4usa), an NSF-funded program that makes engineering more accessible to high school students and educators. e4usa provides an educational curriculum for students to learn and demonstrate engineering principles, skills and practices while training educators interested in teaching. The Annis School will receive approximately $300,000 to support this work and expand e4usa’s innovative curriculum to Indiana K-12 schools.
“The e4usa program has already made a tremendous impact by creating opportunities for students and teachers to engage with engineering in new and exciting ways,” said Ken Reid, Associate Dean of the Annis School. “The R.B. Annis School of Engineering is thrilled to expand our community connections as we help to introduce students and eliminate barriers to instruction through an accessible curriculum and introduce more students and teachers to the fast-growing field of engineering.”
As an innovative high school engineering program, e4usa has already worked with 36 high schools and more than 2,000 students in 12 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The new NSF funding will help quickly extend e4usa’s reach to include approximately 5,000 students and 50 teachers nationwide, with plans to expand over the next few years. Students are recruited from public, independent and parochial schools in rural, suburban and urban settings. e4usa students explore engineering in society, develop professional skills, and engage in community-focused engineering design experiences, all aimed at helping them see themselves as engineers.
Locally, UIndy is working with two new e4usa partner schools: Christel House Schools and Positive Supports Academy in Indianapolis. UIndy serves as a university partner for both schools, helping each to offer the e4usa curriculum for the first time.
“(Through e4usa), I am able to share methods of learning with my students not usually available,” said Paula Huston, Tech Education, Engineering, and Robotics Teacher at Positive Supports Academy. “My school is the alternative school and my students are more likely to not graduate due to behaviors that put them at my school. That being said, e4USA’s programming allows me to show them possibilities and help them think like engineers when it comes to solving problems whether or not they are academically related. The whole process is helpful to students even if they don’t eventually become engineers. I am hoping that our connection will allow more of my students to see possibilities they might not have been exposed to had they not been a part of this program. I think the hands-on nature of this coursework added to the problem-solving methods are two more tools my students will have to obtain success.”