UC and GE partner to introduce high schoolers to engineering
Cincinnati high schoolers take part in engineering summer camp at UC
Rising ninth and 10th-graders experienced a free weeklong, immmersive engineering camp at the University of Cincinnati as part of GE's Next Engineers program. Students completed hands-on engineering design challenges while being mentored by GE Aerospace volunteers and current College of Engineering and Applied Science students.
In the fall of 2021, the GE Foundation launched the Next Engineers program in four cities around the world, including Cincinnati, with UC as a partner for local programming. Through this program, students can gain an understanding of what it's like to major in engineering and work as an engineer.
"GE launched Next Engineers as a college and career readiness program to increase the diversity of young people in engineering," said Germaine Hunter, GE Aerospace Chief Diversity Officer and Next Engineers Cincinnati Lead.
For students who participate, the hope is that they not only have a great time but also spark an interest in engineering and gain awareness of the many career options available to them.
Some middle and high schools offer little exposure to engineering, which makes it more difficult for students to cultivate an interest.
GE's Next Engineers program aims to close this gap in engineering education. For the rising ninth and 10th-graders attending camp, the choice of what to study in college is quickly approaching. This decision is daunting partly because students are likely unaware of the scope of options they have available to them.
GE launched Next Engineers as a college and career readiness program to increase the diversity of young people in engineering.
Germaine Hunter GE Aerospace Chief of Diversity and Next Engineers Cincinnati Lead
"When I was in high school, no one told me about the different aspects of engineering," said Anas Khairy, a UC cybersecurity engineering student who served as an Engineering Camp counselor.
Khairy initially applied for three majors at UC because he was unsure what he wanted to study. Khairy said if he had attended the engineering camp as a high schooler, he would have had a better idea about his major before applying for college.
"My first-year UC design course was shrunk down to one week and given to these students at camp. In that week, the students got to experience a smaller version of the first year of college, so now they know what engineering is like, a little about the different majors, which will help them when they are applying for university," he said.
Khairy's impact on the students as a counselor, and vice versa, was so meaningful that one group even named their project after him.
"The team I worked with called me up to stand with them while they were presenting," he said. "When they started their slide show, I saw my name and picture on the screen. Seeing the students acknowledge the effort you made by naming the project after you is just a great thing."
Khairy worked with the students to explain engineering concepts to them, as there are many misconceptions about engineering, especially among younger students. Next Engineers works to correct these. Students are shown the breadth of possibilities within engineering and that it is much more than just working on cars or trains, he said.
Engineers are involved with everything you work with on a daily basis.
Blaire Bartish, Program Manager for UC camps
"Engineers are involved with everything you work with on a daily basis," said Blaire Bartish, program manager for the UC camps. "It's not just fixing things that are broken, it's a really multifaceted process."
GE and UC have created a unique opportunity for young students to get involved in engineering. The camps are free at the University of Cincinnati, and another facet of the program, Engineering Academy, awards several partial higher education scholarships for students who pursue engineering degrees.
"Next Engineers creates a bridge for many kids who otherwise would not have access points that introduce them to the world of engineering," said Sterling Leaven, GE Executive Manufacturing Programs Leader, and camp volunteer.
Featured Image at top: Anas Khairy, middle, helps GE Next Engineers camp students test their projects. Photo/Provided
GE's Next Engineers
GE Next Engineers offers three programs to engage students on their paths to engineering studies. Engineering Camp for students ages 14-15 is one of the three, as well as Engineering Discovery for students ages 13-14 and Engineering Academy for students ages 15-18. Engineering discovery programs feature a variety of short, exploratory sessions led by GE engineers in the classroom or community to build awareness about what engineers do. Engineering Academy is a three-year long program designed to equip students with the necessary skills to be successful in an engineering career. Graduates of Engineering Academy who enroll in a higher education engineering program receive a scholarship to support their studies. Learn more at www.nextengineers.org.