HAMMOND | A total of 30 students from Hammond's Gavit Middle School have a better understanding about career opportunities in engineering and engineering technology following a recent visit to Purdue University Calumet.
The visit, titled "Exploring Engineering and Engineering Technology," was initiated by Purdue Calumet computer-aided design coordinator David McLees. It allowed the students, who had expressed an interest in engineering and engineering technology fields, to learn more about career paths and related Purdue Calumet academic programs.
"The kids now have a chance to take high school courses that will help prepare them for easier transition into engineering and engineering technology career paths at the university level," McLees said.
Along with McLees, Gavit teacher Kathryn Midkiff led the students on a tour of engineering and engineering technology facilities at Purdue Calumet. The students also experienced a hands-on laboratory.
"Thanks to David's exceptional planning and the support of numerous professors, the day was quite a success," Midkiff said. "A number of the participating students plan to attend Purdue Calumet to pursue engineering or engineering technology as a career."
Purdue Calumet faculty members opened their classrooms and labs to demonstrate different activities that engineers and engineering technologists perform. The students began their day on campus by creating three-dimensional designs under the direction of Gavit High School students who participate in the Project Lead the Way high-school pre-engineering program, hosted by Purdue Calumet.
The middle schoolers then moved from room to room to learn about radio frequency identification applications, manufacturing race car design, concrete testing and surveying technology, fundamentals of electricity and programmable logic controllers, and a NASA-sponsored moon buggy race.
The students also viewed a presentation by the Purdue Calumet engineering students on current research projects, some of which were viewed in a 3D format, including a cooling tower, steel blast furnace and a submarine simulation project.
"The students left with a positive experience on a college campus, which only increases their confidence levels in pursuing higher education," Midkiff said. "I am hoping to make this an annual event."