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Establishing A High School / Engineering Partnership With A Simple Industrial Process Control Module

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

K-12 Engineering and Pre-College Outreach Poster Session

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.566.1 - 13.566.10



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Paper Authors


John Marshall University of Southern Maine

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John Marshall is the Industrial Power and Energy Coordinator at the University of Southern Maine. His areas of specializations include Power and Energy Processing, Electronic Control Systems, and Automation.

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

Establishing a High School / Engineering Partnership With a Simple Industrial Process Control Module


Too few high school students understand that a technical career path can genuinely be exciting and neat. Some have the short-term view that good paying jobs are plentiful, so why take the really difficult courses. Many sell their own abilities short and convince themselves that it is too difficult a career path. And still others conjure up the image of a dirty, dull, dangerous, and demeaning factory floor and run (not walk) in the other direction.

What is needed to turn these impressions around are exciting exposures to technical topics in existing high school curriculums such as technology education, science, math and physics. The purpose of this paper is to identify exactly one such exciting module that has been successfully used to build bridges that link high school students to industrial technology and engineering technology career paths.

This presentation will identify specific outcomes that resulted from an extremely cost- efficient program. The success and simplicity of the program encourages it’s continuance with existing high schools and even growth into a greater geographical area. Institutions seeking higher student enrollments in technical degree paths may wish to consider replicating this simple and exciting programmable logic controller module. This strong recruiting tool has provided us a pipeline of talented new students into the university program.

Working Towards a Diverse Population

Attracting a diverse student population has traditional been a difficult task for the University of Southern Maine. Based on 2004/2005 statistics 1, 95.4 % of the University’s student population was “White/Non-Hispanic”. In an effort to increase our total enrollments and also address our lack of racial diversity, we found a very “reachable” population in the local public schools. The public school student population in the region is in fact significantly more diverse 2 with a “White/Non-Hispanic” population of 80.81%. In both instances the balance of the populations were comprised of Blacks, American Indian, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic.

On average, two high school classes per month have traveled to campus to participate in laboratory based sessions. As a direct result of these sessions, four new majors have joined our program and several others have requested applications. Three of these new majors (two males and one female) began participating as high school juniors and are now completing their freshman year. The fourth “recruit” was a high school senior and is maintaining a 3.7 GPA as a sophomore. His academic achievement in the general education requirements as well as his technical core has been very impressive. In fact, an

Marshall, J. (2008, June), Establishing A High School / Engineering Partnership With A Simple Industrial Process Control Module Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4038

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