Original Press Release
Aerodynamics, Fuel Cells and Eco-Design to Motivate Kids
Press release date: March 6, 2010
This summer, 6th - 8th grade students in Eagle River, Wis. will be introduced to the basics of engineering concepts at the Gateway Academy - a summer youth program offered by the SME Education Foundation and Project Lead The Way.
DEARBORN, Mich., - Jump-starting tomorrow's global manufacturing leaders has parents, teachers, businesses and community groups in Eagle River, Wis. collaborating with the SME Education Foundation and partner, Project Lead The Way (PLTW) in bringing the Gateway Academy and its world of engineering summer camps to Northland Pines High School.
The co-ed, weeklong Gateway Academy program introduces 6th - 8th grade students to the basics of engineering in a fun and exciting environment. PLTW-certified instructors lead students in projects and activities related to engineering disciplines. Students brainstorm ideas, solve problems and learn the basics of engineering concepts involving alternative energy, eco-design, robotics, aerodynamics and manufacturing in a hands-on, project-based environment.
The concept of the Gateway Academy was created in a partnership between the SME Education Foundation and PLTW, a not-for-profit organization that promotes engineering courses for middle and high school students. The Foundation and PLTW are dedicated to filling the pipeline with highly-trained and skilled workers to meet the demands of emerging technologies in the next ten years. In 2009, the SME Education Foundation held 237 Gateway Academies and reached over 4,800 students in 28 states. Their goal is to increase to 300 Gateway Academies in 2010.
Says Bart A. Aslin, director, SME Education Foundation, "When young people are given a chance to realize their potential, there is no debating their decision to pursue more challenging classes in science, technology, engineering and math and be excited about their future."
The first two years of the Northern Pines School District's Gateway Academies were funded through The Kern Family Foundation's grant to the Wisconsin 4-H program - one week in 2007 and two weeks in 2008 which allowed Scott Foster, Northland Pines High School principal to introduce his middle school students to the Gateway Academy.
The overwhelming support from parents and children's excitement about learning science and technology has furthered plans to expand the camp this year. Scott Foster welcomes support from local businesses and community organizations.
The need for local business and industry to become involved and mentor helps young people visualize exciting future careers and energizes their need to learn. The Project Lead The Way program offered at Northland Pines High School includes a business council, consisting of representatives from area manufacturing firms. These companies schedule student tours of their facilities and often visit the school to speak about opportunities in the engineering field. Teachers, administrators and tech school representatives also sit on the council.
The Northland Pines School District has increased the number of students taking PLTW courses. The district covers 500 sq. miles with only 540 students enrolled in grades 9-12. This rural district introduced its first PLTW course in 2007 and today 15 percent of its students are taking at least one of the four courses the school offers. According to Scott Foster, approximately 50 percent of his students go on to graduate to a 4-year college and another 10 to 20 percent go to a 2-year tech school.
According to Northland Pines High School technology instructor, Lance Schultz, after two years of offering the Gateway Academy camp they are beginning to see the impact at the high school level and getting more interest in PLTW classes as well as increased female enrollment. Students who previously had not even heard of an engineer are now preparing themselves for college to become one.
Schultz believes the success of their PLTW program owes much of its success to the Gateway Academy which is filling PLTW seats with its former Gateway campers. Says Schultz, "We are all very excited about this and want to keep it going rather than have to face the bleak possibility of what may be to come if we lose this camp."
About Project Lead The Way:
Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a national 501c3, not-for-profit educational program, prepares middle and high school students to be the most innovative and productive leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Through an engaging, hands-on-curriculum, PLTW encourages the development of problem-solving skills, critical thinking, creative and innovative reasoning, and a love of learning. Visit www.pltw.org.
About the Gateway Academy:
The concept of the Gateway Academy was created in a partnership between the SME Education Foundation and Project Lead The Way, a not-for-profit organization that promotes engineering courses for middle and high school students. In 2009, the SME Education Foundation held 237 Gateway Academies and reached over 4,800 students in 28 states. Their goal is to increase to 300 Gateway Academies in 2010. For more information about the Gateway Academy program, contact Project Lead The Way at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the SME Education Foundation:
The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, supporting and preparing the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists in the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $29 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit www.smeef.org and award-winning Web site for young people - www.manufacturingiscool.com.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact SME Public Relations by phone (313) 271-1500, e-mail email@example.com, or Fax: (313) 425-3403