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Dayton Engineer

High School Students Get a Head Start on Their UD Classes

By Cara Stevens, marketing communications intern

The University of Dayton School of Engineering is helping high school students in the Dayton area get ready for college. Students at Chaminade-Julienne (CJ) High School are now taking the equivalent to UD’s EGR 103, a first-year design course titled Engineering Design and Development. Students receive hands-on, real-world experience – and earn college credit – before setting foot on campus.

The only significant difference in the course being taught at UD and in high school is the length of time.  Students at the college level take the EGR 103 course for one semester, whereas high school students use a full academic school year (two semesters) to complete the course. The longer course is modeled on the UD course and uses the same course objectives, curriculum and learning outcomes.  The CJ high school students are taught by UD graduate students from the School of Engineering called “Teaching Fellows.”

“Students are taking an actual UD course in high school,” said Beth Hart, a lecturer who oversees the EGR 103 courses. “CJ is the second high school we have expanded this program to. The first was Lehman Catholic High School a few years ago. We are looking to expand to more high schools in the Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton areas in Fall 2020.”

Hart is the coordinator for this program and responsible for getting these students their UD credit. She, along with Ken Bloemer from the Visioneering Center’s KEEN Program, is an instrumental part of linking the graduate students to the high school students.  

According to Hart, the class gives students an opportunity to grow in their interest in the field of engineering before they even attend their first year of college.

“The CJ students will have college level engineering credit to put on their applications for colleges. It makes the students more marketable and gives them the opportunity to practically test out a major before making a commitment,” Hart said.

Students in the CJ class worked on a mock design and manufacturing project for the Red Cross. Students were challenged to come up with a functional product made of cardboard that could be used during disaster relief efforts. They had to use their creativity, design skills and knowledge of materials strength to make this project come to fruition.   

The Red Cross project used the same criteria given to first-year students at UD. The directions are completely open-ended for this scenario to see what participants can come up with. This project exposes students to finding different opportunities for a client.

The goal is to understand the engineering design process, but also utilize the KEEN 3-Cs – curiosity, connections and creating value. KEEN is a national network of engineering schools and faculty dedicated to preparing undergraduate engineering students for success with the entrepreneurial mindset. The University of Dayton's partnership with the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) is over a decade long and still going strong. Expanding this course to high school students helps to extend the KEEN values to potential future Flyers.

Students attending both CJ and Lehman Catholic are ahead of their fellow first-year engineers by taking this class in high school. Thanks to UD, students are earning college credit before setting foot on campus.

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