The Mechanical Science and Engineering Department is firmly committed to outreach activities to encourage the next generation to consider engineering as a career.
The department has developed and implemented several activities with many students in local and regional schools to encourage students to consider engineering as a career. One popular activity is creating small plastic objects with a simple 3D printer based on a data projector. Another is manufacturing a bouncy ball using a polymerization reaction and a mold to shape it. These activities have been implemented in classrooms and afterschool programs with literally tens of thousands of students.
The MechSE Department has conducted or participated in several STEM night or weekend activities. MechSE staff and students have provided activities for several school and public organizations events such as Leal Elementary School’s science night, Science night at Grove school in Normal, Il and Engineering Days at the St. Louis Science Center.
Afterschool clubs have been initiated by MechSE, such as Booker T. Washington’s Engineering club. MechSE students design and conduct weekly engineering activities for the public school students to engage in. A new development is the integration of these types of activities into elementary and middle school classrooms. Some MechSE students have led a class once a week for several weeks in which they expose students to a different type of engineering each week.
MechSE is developing closer relationships with area secondary students and their teachers. Many faculty members have engaged junior high and high school students in the student’s classrooms leading class discussions or class projects based on their area of research.
MechSE is running a summer camp for high school students to expose those students to mechanical engineering. Students design and build a windmill as well as engage in several other activities in this week-long residential camp. Many faculty, staff and students are involved in this camp.