GE Aerospace expands Next Engineers program for Cincinnati youth

First cohort of Cincinnati high-schoolers graduate, earn college scholarships

GE Aerospace Foundation announced an additional $20 million investment in Next Engineers, a global college- and career-readiness program working to increase the diversity of young people in engineering.

A portion of this additional investment will benefit the Cincinnati location of Next Engineers, extending the program through 2028. The University of Cincinnati serves as the educational partner for local Cincinnati programming. 

The Next Engineers: Engineering Academy, a three-year engineering education program for high-schoolers, graduated its first cohort of students last week. Students who complete the program and go on to pursue an engineering degree at an institution of higher education will receive a scholarship. 

six people in business attire pose

Nigel Adjei-Mensah (center, in green jacket) is one of 45 Cincinnati-area students who completed the Engineering Academy. He plans to study engineering at UC, with support from the Next Engineers scholarship. He is pictured with leadership from UC and GE Aerospace at the May 2, 2024, public announcement of the launch of the GE Aerospace Foundation. Photo/GE Aerospace

Nigel Adjei-Mensah, a Princeton High School senior, is one of 45 Cincinnati-area students who completed the Engineering Academy, which engages students in design challenges in small groups, career coaching, and college-readiness workshops to equip them with the skills they need to build an engineering career. Like some of his fellow Engineering Academy classmates, Adjei-Mensah plans to attend the University of Cincinnati. 

“The Next Engineers scholarship I will receive for completing the program will help facilitate my path to pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering,” Adjei-Mensah said. “The immersive design challenges that we go through during Engineering Academy and also the career coaching that we receive from GE Aerospace employees has opened my eyes to a whole new world of engineering.”

Through this program, students can gain an understanding of what it's like to study engineering in college and the impact they can make working as an engineer – solving the big challenges of tomorrow. 

a man and a woman speak to each other in front of an audience

Whitney Gaskins, Associate Dean of UC's College of Engineering and Applied Science, shared the impact Next Engineers has on local youth and their families. She spoke with Germain Hunter, Chief Diversity Officer, GE Aerospace, at the announcement of GE Aerospace Foundation and its added investment in Next Engineers. Photo/GE Aerospace

“Through the Next Engineers program, we are not just shaping young minds, but empowering them to shape the future of engineering,” said Whitney Gaskins, PhD, Associate Dean of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Engineering and Applied Science. “These graduates exemplify the dedication and potential of our youth, and I have no doubt they will continue to inspire and innovate as they embark on their engineering journeys.”

Engineering Academy students learn to solve problems through engineering while working on small-team projects, including building mousetrap-powered cars and designing water filtration systems. Exploring college campuses and interacting with working engineers helps them to imagine themselves as college students and future engineers. The program also instills essential skills including teamwork, communication and public speaking. 

A group of about 40 high school students pose on a flight of stairs

The first cohort of graduating Next Engineers: Engineering Academy students celebrated with their families at the University of Cincinnati. UC is the educational partner for the local iteration of the GE Aerospace Foundation program. Photo/GE Aerospace

“These students have committed three years and more than 200 hours to learning about engineering concepts, designing prototypes and solving complex problems,” said GE Aerospace Chairman and CEO H. Lawrence Culp, Jr. “These graduates carry with them the legacy of Next Engineers as they continue on in their educational journey.”

In the fall of 2021, the GE Foundation established Next Engineers in four cities around the world, including Cincinnati. The newly launched GE Aerospace Foundation picks up the mantle to invest further in this successful program. 

The Next Engineers program offers three programs to engage students and spark interest in engineering: Engineering Camp for students ages 14-15, Engineering Discovery for students ages 13-14, and Engineering Academy for students ages 15-18. Thus far, more than 4,000 local students have participated in the Cincinnati programs. For more information, visit nextengineers.org

Featured image at top: Next Engineers: Engineering Academy students toured GE Aerospace's Peebles, Ohio, facility as part of the college- and career-readiness program for high-schoolers interested in engineering. Photo/GE Aerospace

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