“Freshmen often come to Engineering not sure of which discipline they wish to pursue. High school is the right time to start thinking about where their interests lie.  We are hoping that we tap into top-quality students who are already doing well in high school.” – Dr. Hani Salim

High school is the prime time to learn about yourself, your interests, and possibly engineering. The MU College of Engineering has designed several programs for students to do just that.  One exciting opportunity is the MU College of Engineering High School Summer Camp.

At this summer camp, budding engineering students can explore the variety of engineering disciplines, from Biological Engineering to Computer Science to Mechanical Engineering.  The information presented during the camp can help high school students understand all available options and see how science and math skills can help them become successful engineers, according to Dr. Hani Salim, Associate Dean of Academic Programs.

Some of the activities in the two-week program involve hands-on lab experiments, team design projects and competitions, alongside sampling campus life and making new friends.  “This camp is meant to be an opportunity to gain practical engineering experience,” said Dr. Salim. Students also go on tours of local and state industries relevant to the their fields of interest and learn about opportunities to earn engineering scholarships.  The camp also includes presentations by Mizzou Engineering professors, many of who are leaders in their fields.

One of the major goals of this summer program is to recruit talented students into Mizzou Engineering programs, including those from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM.  “We are hoping that we tap into top quality students who are already doing well in high school.” says Salim. To reach these students, fliers are sent to target high schools and the program employs a diversity recruiter.  This recruiter reaches out to students and addresses any concerns that minority students may have.  Students can apply for a diversity scholarship, which waives the camp’s $500 participation fee.

Students can also experience a number of these activities in a single day: High School Day. At this event, students are taken on a whirlwind tour of various engineering departments and given an opportunity to find out what it is really like to be an engineer at Mizzou.  From working on design problems to networking with Mizzou professors, students get to see a bite-sized view of what they can expect if they enroll at Mizzou.  Participants also meet current MU Engineering students and get a first-hand account of life in the College of Engineering.  Students also enjoy a scavenger hunt through the famously maze-like Laffere Hall.

MU Engineering has also devoted resources to recruiting girls, as women are also underrepresented in the field.  At Mother & Daughter Engineering Day, middle school students and their mothers together take part in a day of learning centered on what engineers do and the variety of engineering fields.  The university’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, a national organization devoted to “giving women a unique place and voice within the engineering industry” leads this day’s activities.  Included in the day’s schedule are different types of engineering activities, from building roller coasters out of construction paper and tape to testing different ways to filter water.

To train and recruit the next generation of engineers, MU Engineering hosts a number of programs targeted at engaging kids using robotics. Fourth and fifth graders can investigate math and science at Tech4K-5, while the Robotics Design Challenge is targeted towards K-8 youth.  Kids practice not only robotics, but also life sciences, computing, and communication through activities at LEGO camp, for youth from 2nd through 9th grade.

Ultimately, the University of Missouri College of Engineering wants to create the best engineers, now and in the future by encouraging students to think about where math and science can take them.