Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne will wrap up its inaugural Sci-TEC Academy this week with an awards ceremony. The effort is a partnership among education, community and business leaders involving STEM-related challenges for a select group of 8-12th grade students.

April 26, 2015

News Release

Fort Wayne, Ind. — A group of dedicated university and community partners will join with pre-college students and their parents on April 28, 2015 to celebrate the inaugural year of the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) Sci-TEC Academy. The event will take place in Walb Union Classic Ballroom from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

The new pre-college career program is a partnership between IPFW and area businesses with a common mission to encourage middle and high school students to pursue higher education and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers.

The Vision 20/20 goal to “increase educational attainment and create quality of opportunity” in northeast Indiana was one reason the IPFW College of Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science (ETCS) launched the Sci-TEC program, inviting three Indiana businesses to be inaugural Sci-TEC Partners: Indiana Michigan Power, 80/20, Inc. and Engineering Resources, Inc. All three enthusiastically agreed and their staff worked with IPFW faculty to offer three Sci-TEC Challenges for members.

IPFW initially invited 8-12th grade students to apply for Academy membership in the fall of 2014. Twenty five students from sixteen different schools were selected based on the submission of a short essay describing their interest in STEM careers and a list of their participation in other STEM activities.

The Sci-TEC program began with an October Kick-Off event followed by a series of Sci-TEC Challenge nights in November, February, and March. Each challenge included a competitive problem solving activity that focused on a theme.

The Challenge nights gave members access to community professionals, IPFW labs and faculty. Members could ask questions about the challenge topic and hear partners share insight from their own careers. Sci-TEC members could also build a network of friends from other schools with similar interests in STEM activities.

“Improve It!” was the first challenge offered by partners. 80/20, Inc. Senior HR Manager Patrick Buesching and Educational Liaison, Larissa Brown worked with faculty members Barry Dupen and Ali Alavizadeh from the Department of Manufacturing and Construction Engineering Technology. The Partners challenged members to build the best prototype possible using 80/20 educational kits. Members also visited an IPFW lab to see a demonstration of materials testing; an important consideration in mechanical and industrial designs.

The second Challenge called “Virtual Transport” used West Point bridge design software. Engineering Resources, Inc. President, Kurt Heidenreich, shared bridge building “basics.” Civil Engineering faculty Suleiman Ashur and Ahmadreza Hedayet introduced members to university students from the American Society of Civil Engineers who advised members on their creation of the most “optimum” bridge design they could imagine.

For the final challenge, Sci-TEC members strategized on how to reduce power usage in the “ESI: Electrical Scene Investigation.” Indiana Michigan Power Community Affairs Manager, Kim Sabrosky, and Customer Services Manager, Barry Wiard, lead electrical power activities including an energy audit while David Momoh from the Department of Computer, Electrical, and Information Technology demonstrated measuring power in a lab as he explained “power factor.”

The Sci-TEC Academy Awards night will conclude the year-long program as parents and the 2014-15 Sci-TEC partners meet to recognize students for their participation. The event will begin at 5:30 with a “mini” Career Fair where additional information on STEM majors, internships, scholarships, and other opportunities will be available. IPFW students will be on hand to talk with members and share their projects and demonstrations. The 6:30 dinner will follow with student recognition awards at 7 p.m.

In the fall, the Sci-TEC Academy will again invite 8-12th grade students, including current members, to apply for the 2015-16 school year where new challenges await.

Source: Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

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