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Using Enrichment Programs To Introduce High School Students To Mechanical Engineering

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Trends in Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1249.1 - 8.1249.10



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Paper Authors

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William Murphy

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Vincent Capece

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John Baker

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

Session 1566

Using Enrichment Programs to Introduce High School Students to Mechanical Engineering John R. Baker, Vincent R. Capece, William E. Murphy Department of Mechanical Engineering University of Kentucky


Most high school students have little idea what practicing engineers do, or of the nature of a university engineering curriculum. Many top students likely choose a non- engineering major simply due to lack of exposure to engineering. While it is not practical to include introductory engineering courses in a typical high school curriculum, shorter- term enrichment programs involving concentrated workshops, can be used to introduce students to the various engineering disciplines. Many high schools have gone to a modified school schedule, which consists of nine week quarters that are followed by a one week break and one week of remediation or enrichment. Enrichment classes are offered over a wide range of subjects of interest to students and can be used for such extracurricular programs.

This paper outlines a first effort at an enrichment program designed to introduce students at Graves County High School in Kentucky to the field of mechanical engineering. It was developed and delivered by mechanical engineering faculty at the University of Kentucky Extended Campus Program in Paducah, KY1,2, in January 2002. The two-day program involved lectures, short research projects, and laboratory work at the engineering campus. Initial lecture material covered the broad mechanical engineering profession. Additional presentations included gas turbine engines, alternative energy sources (solar and wind), and applications of solid modeling and finite element analysis software. Based on the lecture material, students selected a topic, and used web-based resources to complete a short research paper. One laboratory exercise involved measurement of flow around a golf ball in a wind tunnel, with supervised calculations of the aerodynamic drag coefficient using Microsoft Excel software. Another exercise involved each student creating a solid model of a simple structure using Pro/ENGINEER solid modeling software, and included production of a stereo-lithography (SLA) prototype of their design as a souvenir.

The students were graded on their efforts. Initial assessment of the success of the program was done through surveys of the participating students.

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

Murphy, W., & Capece, V., & Baker, J. (2003, June), Using Enrichment Programs To Introduce High School Students To Mechanical Engineering Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11560

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