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Looking to EngAGE future engineers

[Scott Compeau]
Scott Compeau, Outreach Coordinator for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, is coordinating the EngAGE program, a two-week summer course aimed at introducing high school students to engineering and Queen's. (University Communications) 

A new summer program being offered by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science is aimed at introducing high school students to what Queen’s Engineering offers as well as the wide range of possibilities available in the engineering profession.

The Queen’s Engineering Academy Guided Experience (EngAGE) is a two-week program that will expose participants to four of the main engineering disciplines at Queen’s – Chemical, Civil, Electrical and Computing, and Mechanical.

While there are similar programs offered at other universities, what differentiates EngAGE, explains Engineering Outreach Coordinator Scott Compeau, is that the participants will actually be able to take advantage of some of the state-of-the-art research facilities at Queen’s, such as the OTTER Lab, Pilot Plant, and the Coastal Lab. This is hands-on learning and exploration.

“We are trying to showcase the research being done and the facilities that the university has to offer, to give the participants a really good look at what the disciplines are like,” Scott says.

He adds that professors and graduate students from the various disciplines who are involved will also introduce the students to the engineering design process as well as the broad range of career options.

With a Master’s degree specializing in Engineering Education with a thesis on high school students’ perception of engineering, Mr. Compeau is an ideal person to lead the program. He is aware of the stereotypes that are out there and the misperceptions that most high school students have about engineering. This program is designed to dispel those myths, excite the participants, and ”engage” them in considering pursuing engineering, he says.

The program is for students entering grades 10 to 12 but there are no requirements in terms of having taken courses such as chemistry and physics. The aim of EngAGE is to challenge and inform the students without being technically overwhelming.

The program is loosely modeled on what the faculty currently offers undergraduate students, particularly those heading into second year.

“My view is that if we can take the type of projects that we are doing with undergraduate students which are deemed important by Engineers Canada and to the profession, then why not try to bring some of those concepts down to an earlier age. Therefore, these high schoolers who are considering engineering will have a better view on what the profession is all about, and they will be better prepared to study it,” he says.

The first week of the EngAGE program starts with a General Engineering Challenge on the first day. The student then will be introduced to Chemical Engineering and Civil Engineering. The second week starts with another General Engineering Challenge followed by modules on Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. The first offering of the program is set for July 18-29 and the second runs Aug. 8-19.

There is an option to stay in residence with full supervision and meals as well as a day program. Participants can also register for a single week.

For more information visit the Engineering Outreach website or contact eng.connections@queensu.ca.