Dave Allen helps secure $2M to expand ‘Engineer Your World’ program

Two female students participate in an Engineer Your World class project.The University of Texas System Board of Regents has invested $2 million to expand The University of Texas at Austin’s Engineer Your World program to better prepare high school students for college engineering programs and allow them to receive college credits.

Engineer Your World is an innovative one-year high school engineering curriculum developed by the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. The program seeks to provide high-quality, low-cost engineering education and teacher training at the high school level.

Approved in December, the Board funding will help Engineer Your World launch a new dual-enrollment course to give high school students an opportunity to earn college credit at a UT System academic institution.

“We are grateful to the UT System for helping Engineer Your World introduce engineering as a dynamic career to more Texas students,” said Dave Allen, director of the Center for Engineering Education at the Cockrell School and Texas ChE professor. “Our students leave Engineer Your World better able to tackle real-world problems using an engineering approach and with sharpened math and science skills that will set them up for success in engineering and other STEM careers.”

Students will be able to enroll in new freshman-level courses offered by the engineering programs at multiple UT System institutions. These courses will be available to all Engineer Your World high schools beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year.

The UT System funding will also support the program’s efforts to bring its engineering courses to more Texas schools and offer teachers a subsidized summer training program. Since it was created at the Cockrell School in 2008, Engineer Your World has grown from seven schools and 212 students to 61 schools and 2,500 students in Texas. The curriculum has also expanded nationwide to reach 105 schools and 5,000 students in 15 states.

“Since its launch, Engineer Your World has been a remarkable success story,” said Sharon L. Wood, dean of the Cockrell School. “Not only has it inspired thousands of young people to consider engineering degrees and careers, it has also provided outstanding professional development to the high school teachers who will educate our future workforce. Thanks to this investment from the UT System Board of Regents, we will be able to reach more high school students across Texas.”

Engineer Your World aligns with The Texas Prospect Initiative — one of eight Quantum Leaps proposed by UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven in November as part of his vision to advance the UT System.

The Texas Prospect Initiative aims to work with campus and civic leaders, the Legislature, community colleges, school districts and other primary and secondary education constituents to help prepare students from pre-K through 12th grade for college with an array of innovative programs.

In a 2013 report, the UT System’s Task Force on Engineering Education for Texas in the 21st Century recommended that the state graduate 9,000 engineers and computer scientists annually to remain economically competitive.

About 60 percent of students completing Engineer Your World have expressed an interest in engineering careers. But even for those who decide not to pursue engineering, the program teaches students other skills necessary to succeed in college such as collaboration, communication and critical thinking.

For more information, contact: engineeryourworld@austin.utexas.edu.

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