Precollege Program Provides High School Students Opportunity to Engineer their Future

What better way to spend summer vacation than … at school? For some high school juniors and seniors, this is exactly how they spent it. However, they did not give up lounging at the beach in vain. Participants in the NYU Tandon Precollege summer program not only earned three college credits, they discovered what it is really like to be an engineer. Introduction To Engineering And Design is a course offered through the precollege program that provides high school students a working knowledge of engineering practice through hands-on, experiential learning. By taking on an actual design project (building a robot), students learn about the problem-solving process, the tools and technologies engineers employ, as well as design process considerations including competition, cost, quality, and scheduling. 

Earlier this month students filled a lecture hall excited to present what they had been working on over the summer. Each group of students went up and introduced their future selves, from the university they “graduated” from to the product they developed. In convincing detail, the participants presented the origins of their made-up companies, the robots they created, the cost of production, and their conclusions. Professor Gunter Georgi — former NASA engineer and current industry professor at NYU Tandon — offered constructive comments and advice after each presentation, lauding the students’ innovative thinking and detailing the parts that could be improved. The students used the STEM knowledge acquired in the course to come up with meaningful solutions to everyday problems.

One of the groups, comprised of students Roman Haberli, Neil Patel, and Fuqian Sun, introduced their fictional company “Sun Shipments Inc.” and detailed plans for a robot that would retrieve and deliver fuel cells to hospitals. Another company — “MSG Systems” founded by Simon Rhodes, Maranda Wheelock, and Guangyuan Xue — aspired to make the world a safer place by means of their autonomous robot designed to disarm bombs.

The precollege Introduction to Engineering course aims to do more than just introduce the field of engineering to participants; it equips students with the knowledge and opportunity to expand the borders of what they think engineering can encompass. 

Judy Lee
College of Arts and Science
B.A. in Sociology, Class of 2018