The Purdue Northwest School of Engineering, CIVS, and numerous administrators, faculty, staff, and students hosted a STEM Experience Event on Friday, March 1, 2019, for a contingent of Homewood-Flossmoor high school students who experienced first-hand the extent to which engineers can organize and coordinate an informational tour … and pack the “E” into a STEM event.
After opening remarks by H-F alumnus and engineer Bob Presnak, PNW School of Engineering Director Dr. Dietmar Rempfer guided the students through a brief within-their-lifetime snapshot of advances in CPU/GPU technology; engineering as a practical profession and an area of study; the PNW SoE mission, vision statement, and current national reputation/ranking; examples of engineering Senior Design projects and student participation in nationally competitive project programs; anticipated further development and use of the PNW Engineering Design Studio; and unique PNW SoE “draws” such as the Distinguished Speaker Series and 4+1 degree programs.
Not to be outdone in either content significance or enthusiastic presentation, and packing the “T” into the STEM event, CIVS research engineers Tyamo Okosun and Kyle Toth presented an overview of CIVS, its mission and emphasis on real-world project involvement and problem-solving by students; the advantages and reliability behind modeling techniques such as computational fluid dynamics and finite element analysis; current technologies and trends in simulation and visualization; and practical results and economic impacts of selected industry projects.
Spurred on by the examples of the previous presenters, engineering students Bethany Worl (MCE, and CIVS), John Estrada (ECE, and CIVS), and Tommy Biancardi (ECE) provided student perspectives and testimonials of their time, activities, and numerous interactions with faculty at PNW, detailing experiences on particular projects and their own evolution in the educational process.
Professor Yun Liu introduced the Aerosolar Engineering “Weather Balloon Team” and its undertakings, after which CIVS’s Kyle Toth and John Moreland demonstrated virtual reality training simulators and other examples of VR technology and applications, in which some students used a virtual fire extinguisher to put out an equally virtual but very real-looking and acting fire, while others explored a virtual crime scene and underwent initial forensic science training, and by then …
It was lunchtime.
In the afternoon, the high schoolers toured various engineering labs (Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical and Civil Engineering) and were guided between demonstration stations for projects such as the NASA Rover craft, Formula SAE and Electric car, Steel Bridge and Solar car, and Concrete Canoe, where Engineering Lab Coordinator Williams Oged, Professor Don Gray, and various student ambassadors were on hand to provide narrative and answer any questions.
To those stalwart Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings who made it through the day with mental circuitry intact: you, too, might have what it takes to become an engineer.