Mini-lectures and related hands-on activities in various engineering disciplines—electrical, mechanical, civil/structural, and metallurgical/materials science—were the order of the day as nearly 300 region high school students toured the PNW Hammond campus and CIVS facilities on Friday, October 5, 2018, for the 11th Annual AIST High School Engineering Seminar.
Following an early morning networking assembly at PNW’s Student Union, and introductory remarks by ArcelorMittal’s Tony Kmitta and EQ Engineers’ Rich Trzcinski, student groups progressed through a series of five presentations, each of which delved briefly into real-world engineering processes and scenarios and challenged students with a hands-on activity or problem to solve. “Old Faithful” challenges such as the building of gumdrop-and-spaghetti-strand towers, and hand-launched gliders made from a single foam plate, were joined by explorations of computer controls using state-of-the-art micro-controllers, and of crime scenes in virtual reality.
CIVS graduate researchers Bethany Worl and Kyle Toth pitched in to help present, respectively, the overall PNW Engineering program and experience (Worl), and CIVS overview, diversity of projects, and use of simulation and visualization technologies to provide solutions to issues in industry, research, and education (Toth). Also assisting in presentation and recruitment efforts were CIVS members John Estrada, Yuchao Chen, Fangzhou Zhang, Wenjie Liu, Youxin Luo, Haoyu Shi, Xipeng Guo, Yu Wang, Komal Sharma, Qurram Syed, and Sam Nielson.
“Choosing an engineering educational path really is making an investment in the future that will pay off in all sorts of ways,” Worl said. “And while that statement includes engineers’ salaries—because let’s be honest, engineers tend to make good money—engineers also literally help shape our world. And events like this are important in introducing students to some of the many networking, internship opportunity, and support resources that are associated with a modern engineering education.”
The 11th Annual High School Engineering Seminar was sponsored by the Midwest Chapter of the Association for Iron & Steel Technology (AIST) and organized in large part by Kelly Dallas, herself a Purdue (Calumet) graduate and current Project Manager at ArcelorMittal.
Schools taking part in this year’s seminar were Andrean High School, Bishop Noll Institute, Chesterton High School, Crown Point High School, East Chicago Central High School, Hammond Academy of Science & Technology, Highland High School, Lake Central High School, Portage High School, and Washington Township High School, and Wheeler High School.
Participating companies and organizations that provided expert presenters and/or representatives were AIM Machinery, ArcelorMittal USA, ASM – Calumet Chapter, AIST, CET Incorporated, EQ Engineers, Graycor, McCarthy Building, Nalco, NIPSCO, Orbital Engineering, Praxair, Superior Engineering, U.S. Steel, and Valparaiso University.