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A Worthy Pursuit For Tomorrow's Engineers

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.111.1 - 10.111.10



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Paper Authors

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Richard Boyer

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Taryn Bayles

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A WORTHY Pursuit for Tomorrow’s Engineers

Richard Boyer and Taryn Melkus Bayles Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering University of Maryland Baltimore County


There is a growing concern for the lack of college students pursuing degrees in technical disciplines. As a result, six years ago Northrop Grumman launched the WORTHY (Worthwhile to Help High School Youth) program to provide a unique mentoring/educational outreach program with the objective of cultivating and motivating future technical and business talent. Each year, Northrop Grumman selects at least 10 Baltimore inner-city high school students for the program who are entering their sophomore or junior years, based on their interest in pursuing a technical or business degree, academic performance, leadership skills and community involvement. The students work with two Northrop Grumman mentors during the school year on selected projects tailored to their business interests and technical level. Northrop Grumman collaborates with the University of Maryland Baltimore County to provide a six week summer program for the high school students focused on developing technical, business and leadership skills. Upon graduation from high school, qualified students receive multi-year partial scholarships, in addition the students can return to Northrop Grumman or UMBC to work during the summer while they are in college.

This paper will focus on the WORTHY summer program which was delivered summer of 2004 by UMBC’s Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Department. UMBC’s Shriver Center coordinated the first two weeks of the program, during which the high school students worked on a community service project with elementary school students. This was followed by four weeks of hands-on activities and projects which focused on engineering education. The high school students learned basic engineering concepts, problem solving skills and team work skills. Examples of these activities included toothpick puzzles, aluminum foil boats to float marbles, popsicle bridges, sail cars, paper whirligigs, and magnetic levitation cars. The last two weeks of the program included a final culminating project, which required teams of four students to design, construct, mathematically model and test a hot air balloon. The hot air balloon had to meet specific size, cost, time aloft, and payload criteria. On the final day of the summer program, the Northrop Grumman mentors were invited to UMBC, and the WORTHY students demonstrated their hot air balloon designs and performance, followed by oral presentations of their projects.


In 1998, Robert Iorizzo, President of Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, started the Worthwhile To Help High School Youth (WORTHY) mentoring program that teams Northrop

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Boyer, R., & Bayles, T. (2005, June), A Worthy Pursuit For Tomorrow's Engineers Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14391

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