As you may or may not know, AIChE is debuting its K-12 STEM Showcase at this year's Annual Meeting. Young students, their parents, and teachers will see chemical engineering in action through a series of demos put together by AIChE members.
Can you share any examples of K-12 STEM events in your own communities or other ideas you might have to get kids excited about chemical engineering?
My initial Engineering interest was in Nuclear Engineering. The introductory class for Nuclear Engineering was the same as for Chemical Engineering. I got an A+ and never studied and then found out that Chemical Engineering was the highest paying under grad degree at the time. Decision made I changed majors to Chemical Engineering. I grew up on a farm so engineering was a natural inclination for me with grain handling, irrigation etc. on the farm.
On how to get high school students interested in Chemical Engineering I propose the following. A television show about a boutique specialty engineering firm that goes out and solves interesting engineering problems. If you remember years ago there was a TV show called LA Law. After it came out law school enrollments shot up. The Wall Street journal actually proposed in an editorial that the country needed something equivalent called LA Engineer.
An example of a typical program would be to have a safety review on a new chemical process with a lot of reactions. Naturally lots of us have sat through really boring safety reviews since we just review drawings etc. In the program though as an engineer walks through a possible safety scenario issue the TV program would with computer animation actually show the scenario. Examples, run away reactions that blow up a vessel, pipes bursting from mechanical failure, dust cloud venting from a dust collector. The examples are endless. You have to have action in a TV show to keep interest and that is how you could do it.
You could solicit ideas from engineers on actual incidents that could be referenced in the TV show.
To add variety the main characters would have hobbies, beer brewing, hobby farming playing the organ.
Just a random thought.
Principle Process Engineer and PE.
Since 1991 the RE-SEED program at Northeastern University has trained over 750 retired scientists and engineers in fourteen states to assist K-12 science teachers in the classroom. Today there are over sixty volunteers assisting science teachers in the greater Boston area. After taking part in a comprehensive training program, participants are asked to assist in science classrooms one day a week for one school year (there is no obligation to continue and volunteers may select their assignment). Most volunteers serve over three years (the retention rate is seventy percent), and are very satisfied with the experience (see survey results for details).
Teachers and Principals: Request RE-SEED Support for 2015-2016 Here
Retired* Engineers and Scientists – Sign Up for 2015 Info Session/Training Here
Info Session: September 2016
Training Program: September/October 2016
The RE-SEED Program is part of the Center for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Education at Northeastern University. Other programs of the STEM Center focus on science teacher training and student programs in science learning.
Please contact Ellen Schwartz at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out our one-page RE-SEED Flyer if you are interested in learning more about the RE-SEED program.
The RE-SEED program at Northeastern University seeks to improve student outcomes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by placing trained retired volunteer scientists, engineers and other STEM professionals in K-12 science classrooms. Since 1991 the program has trained over 750 retired scientists and engineers in fourteen states to assist science teachers in the classroom, delivering over 800,000 hours of classroom assistance at a cost of less than $5 per hour. Surveys have established the high acceptance of the program and belief in its effectiveness among volunteers, teachers and students. After completing a comprehensive free training program, participants volunteer to serve in a classroom once a week for one school year. Most volunteers serve over three years (the retention rate is seventy percent). RE-SEED volunteers work closely with the host science teachers to help them enrich and implement their school curriculum.
*You don't actually need to be fully retired to participate in this program. Most all of the citizens that do RE-SEED are of retirement age, but still own and operate businesses, do other volunteer work, consult for their industry, or all of the above!