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Summer Engineering Academy (SEA), a University of Arizona STEM Initiative to Recruit High School Students into Engineering and Science Disciplines

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Descriptions of Outreach Programs

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1354.1 - 22.1354.16



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Paper Authors


Ranji K. Vaidyanathan Oklahoma State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Ranji Vaidyanathan is presently the Herrington Professor in Advanced Materials at the Helmerich Research Center at OSU Tulsa. He is also the Director of the New Product Development Center (NPDC) and the Inventors Assistance Service (IAS) at Oklahoma State University. The mission of the New Product Development Center at Oklahoma State University is to link the innovative ideas and capabilities of small manufacturers and inventors with the knowledge and multi-disciplinary expertise of the land grant university faculty, in order to develop and commercialize economically competitive new products that strengthen rural economies, create new and enhanced jobs, capital investment and an increased tax base.

Dr. Vaidyanathan has thirteen U. S. patents and twenty-two pending patent applications. He has developed six different products from concept stage to commercial stage including a product commercially being sold to Airbus, Eurocopter, Lockheed and Boeing.

At Oklahoma State University, Ranji works collaboratively with faculty members from various disciplines and colleges to develop products and solutions for Oklahoma small manufacturers. As the Herrington Professor, Dr. Vaidyanathan works with the Helmerich Research Center faculty to develop a major research and technology transfer thrust in composite materials.

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Summer Engineering Academy (SEA), a University of Arizona STEM initiative to recruit high-school students into engineering and science disciplinesThe College of Engineering at the University of Arizona (UA) offers a Summer EngineeringAcademy (SEA) to attract high school students including women and under-representedminorities to consider engineering as a career option. In this innovative program conducted withgenerous support from the industry and local non-profit organizations, students learn state of theart in design and manufacturing technology. Students work in teams to design and produce scalemodels of aerodynamic automobiles using Rapid Prototyping (RP) manufacturing technology.The idea behind the SEA program is to show students how an idea becomes reality. Students aretrained by counselors to use SolidWorks™ Software, 3-D printing and Stereolithography forComputer Aided Design (CAD) and Rapid Prototyping (RP) respectively.Cars designed by the students are tested in a wind tunnel and prizes are awarded for the bestaerodynamic design. The design and model competition results are presented to the parents andfaculty members of the College of Engineering. This program offers high school students aglimpse of state of the art technology and helps to create excitement towards engineering as acareer option. In addition to the mandatory car design, students are asked to use their imaginationand design a useful product, with the stipulation that it does not destroy human or animal life orproperty.During the weeklong session, students attend lectures on fundamentals of aerodynamics,materials used in engineering, rapid prototyping and how to prepare for college. On the third dayof the session, students are sent in groups of ten to attend special half-day modules in ChemicalEngineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Systems & IndustrialEngineering. SEA also offers a refresher course in Algebra and Pre-calculus and a lecture onpractical applications of math and science.Statistics show that in the past ten years, more than 1500 high school students have participatedin the SEA program, with approximately 40% of those attending being women and 50%Hispanic. It was also observed that more than 50% of the rising juniors and seniors decide toattend engineering at the University of Arizona or at other schools. These students represent thestates of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Idaho, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Texas, Alaska,Nevada and Utah. The SEA program has been shown to have a major impact on how youngpeople perceive engineering as a profession and career. The hands-on design and manufacturingexperience creates a lot of excitement for engineering and the results can be seen in the studentevaluations as well as the data on the number of high school students selecting engineering as amajor. In the student evaluations, the program received consistently high scores of eight orhigher for academic content and teamwork. Students also expressed surprise that engineering canbe fun and that they never realized fields such as Materials Engineering and SystemsEngineering even existed.Key words: Summer engineering academy, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics(STEM), industry-university partnerships, rapid prototyping

Vaidyanathan, R. K. (2011, June), Summer Engineering Academy (SEA), a University of Arizona STEM Initiative to Recruit High School Students into Engineering and Science Disciplines Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18763

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