Outreach to Middle and High Schools

Penn State Engineering Ambassadors provides an outreach program that brings outstanding engineering students from Penn State University to Pennsylvania middle and high schools to give short presentations on engineering topics in order to reinforce the principles that high school students are learning in their classrooms and to encourage the interest of students in careers in the areas of science and engineering. By showing the solutions that that engineers develop for important problems, the program hopes to show these high school students the relevance of what they are learning in their science classes. In particular, the program intends to show that engineers make a world of difference and that engineering is essential to our health, happiness, and safety. We hope that our presentations and programs play a role in Changing the Conversation that students are having about engineering.

A visit by the Engineering Ambassadors program consists of paired teams presenting to science or math classes. The pair will give a 10-15 minute presentation (times are flexible based on the host teacher's request) on an engineering topic that will show the relevance of that engineering project to a concept that has been taught in the class. The Ambassadors will also facilitate a demonstration or a hands-on design activity. If time allows following the presentation, the presenters are willing to answer questions from the students pertaining to the subject matter, careers, or college life. The program content is always tailored to the grade level of the students.

Additionally, the Engineering Ambassadors also give a presentation on Careers in Engineering as a complement to the individual classroom presentations. This 20-30 minute presentation discusses various career options and opportunities in the engineering field. This presentation is a good fit for a larger, assembly-style gathering in the school's auditorium.

A typical visit consists of presentations by paired teams of Engineering Ambassadors to 2-4 individual science or math classes and then the assembly-style Careers in Engineering presentation at the beginning or end of the day to a larger group of students. There is no cost to the host school for a visit by the Penn State Engineering Ambassadors.

Danielle DaSilva and Deanna Jacoby present
to a chemistry class at Moon Area High School.

Julie Bickel (Senior, Industrial Engineering) works with students at Milton Hershey Middle School on a rollercoaster design project.

Interested in hosting the Engineering Ambassadors at your school? Please contact Lori Miraldi, Director for the Engineering Ambassadors Program, to schedule a visit. She can be reached at lorimiraldi@psu.edu.