'Success Institute' Prepares High School Students For Future Careers In Engineering And Technology

Published: July 21, 2002

Editors: Reporters and photographers interested in visiting the Success Institute may obtain specific schedule information from Carol Rowe at (303) 492-7426. The event runs from July 23 through July 27 at the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory in the CU-Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science. 

A diverse group of high school students from populations typically underrepresented in the field of engineering will gain important hands-on experience that could inspire them toward successful careers in engineering or technology at the fifth annual Success Institute.

The institute runs July 23 through July 27 at CU-Boulder's College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Sixty-six students, including minority students, girls and teens who may become the first in their families to attend college, will participate. The students are from Denver, Boulder and St. Vrain Valley schools.

The institute was established in 1998 to expose students to a variety of engineering disciplines through hands-on projects that will give them a taste of college and what they could do in an engineering career. Eleventh- and 12th-graders will design and build stereo speakers as their primary project during the five-day program. 

Ninth-graders will do a Global Positioning System-based scavenger hunt throughout the campus during their shorter, two-day program starting Friday, while the 10th-graders explore power and energy measurement. All of the students will present their projects to an audience of their parents, peers and industry professionals on Saturday. 

Students will have opportunities throughout the program to meet with faculty, students and industry representatives who provide encouragement and serve as role models. Daniel Hernandez, a graduate of the Multicultural Engineering Program and former president of Southwestern Bell Corporate Internet Service, will be the closing keynote speaker. His presentation to students and parents will be at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Success Institute is a joint initiative between the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory, which has pioneered hands-on design-and-build programs for students of all ages, and the Multicultural Engineering and Women in Engineering programs, which focus on recruitment and retention of students underrepresented in the engineering profession.

Students attending the institute were identified through school visits and teacher and counselor referrals. As part of the application procedure, students wrote a short essay on why they wanted to attend the program.

"The Success Institute provides a way for us to really reach underrepresented students at younger ages and get them excited about math, science and engineering," said Dave Aragon, director of the Multicultural Engineering Program. "We hope to see many of these students go on to study these fields in greater depth during college."

In fact, six graduates of the first 14-student Success Institute in 1998 will enter the engineering program at CU-Boulder this fall.

Success Institute sponsors include the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, Department of Energy-Rocky Flats, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Science Foundation, CU Outreach Committee and engineering alumni donor Bruce Holland. IBM Corp. donated the laptop computers used in all of the ITLL's summer K-12 engineering outreach initiatives.