Asee peer logo

Explore Engineering: Rose Hulman’s Outreach To Middle And High School Students

Download Paper |


2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

A Potpourri of Innovations in Physics

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.560.1 - 8.560.7



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Dale Long

author page

Kevin Sutterer

author page

Frederick Berry

Download Paper |

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

Session 3580

EXPLORE ENGINEERING: Rose-Hulman’s Outreach to Middle and High School Students

Dale Long, Kevin Sutterer, and Fred Berry Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Introduction Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT) places a high priority on reaching out to the local community. This is part of the formula for its success. Such outreach fosters service opportunities so students can discover engineering, mathematics, and science careers are about more than calculations, theories and books. Service is a fundamental aspect of being a professional and thus fundamental to our students’ education. Pedagogically, learning in the affective and social domains is enhanced by such activities, helping improve cognitive learning. Although our emphasis on outreach is a top-down initiative, newcomers to the RHIT community have always been surprised by how unselfishly the staff, students and faculty rally to be a part of community outreach.

Terre Haute, Indiana, the home city of Rose-Hulman, is also a regional center for most of the Wabash River valley in west-central Indiana and east-central Illinois. Much of RHIT’s outreach is to Wabash Valley residents. RHIT’s EXPLORE ENGINEERING is a science and engineering program for Wabash Valley middle and high school students. This program is offered every other Tuesday night during the academic year for 1-1/2 hours. Though the program was free for a number of years, a nominal fee of $10 per family is now charged to join for the entire year. Over its nearly 10 year life, hundreds of middle and high school students have explored the exciting world of engineering and science thanks to their participation in EXPLORE ENGINEERING. The program has grown in popularity and stature during the past four years, thanks to the support of the Lilly Endowment Inc. and Indiana Space Grant Consortium. Prior to the recent funding, however, the program was still successful, though operating on little to no budget, other than the commitment of Rose-Hulman External Affairs’ staff to organize and moderate the meetings every other week, publish a newsletter, maintain membership information and lead the faculty/staff mentoring team administering the program.

Educational Benefits Hands-On Learning Models: The students work in teams to complete hands-on projects to learn elementary engineering and science principles. Examples include mousetrap-powered cars, where elements of force, aerodynamics and simplicity of design were crucial to developing a successful project; construction of ho t air balloons, where the students' efforts must consider heat transfer, aeronautics and teamwork; and constructing model bridges, where students learned project planning, cost effectiveness and computer techniques to build sturdy bridges.

Learning That Science and Engineering Are Fun Career Fields: EXPLORE ENGINEERING program addresses national studies showing that teenagers lose interest in engineering, science and mathematics during middle school years. Students turn out in large numbers every year for the Edible Engineering Contest (constructing vehicles from simple food products), K'Nex® Building

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ? 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Long, D., & Sutterer, K., & Berry, F. (2003, June), Explore Engineering: Rose Hulman’s Outreach To Middle And High School Students Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12143

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015