ESD Expanding ‘Engineering SMArT Michigan’ High School Competition

SOUTHFIELD — The Engineering Society of Detroit is expanding its “Engineering SMArT Michigan” high school competition to more schools and more cities, and is seeking corporate and foundation support to help fund the effort.

“It’s time to sign up for Engineering SMArT Michigan,” said Darlene Trudell, CAE, ESD executive vice president. “High school science teachers should contact their administrators about becoming part of this exciting program.”

Engineering SMArT Michigan – the middle word is an acronym for Science, Mathematics, Architecture and Technology – is a 4-year-old program designed to boost student interest and expertise in energy, engineering and science. In the competition, student teams use architectural skills and technology to design an energy-efficient home of the future. Winners are chosen by a panel of energy, engineering and architecture experts.

The program is completely home-grown – its curriculum was designed by 40 local engineers who are ESD members. The curriculum matches up with current and emerging academic standards such as Common Core. And finalists in the program have earned big college scholarships for their participation. Last year, teams from Melvindale and Hamtramck each received a $30,000 scholarship to Lawrence Technological University – more than $350,000 in scholarships in total were offered. Participants also take field trips to learn more about energy and construction.

“This program encourages young people to become engineers and architects, filling the talent pipeline,” Trudell said. “And the skills they learn in energy efficiency and home design – these are skills that they can use for the rest of their lives.”

Trudell said ESD is also currently “looking for foundation and corporate support so we can extend this program to more schools.”

Teachers and administrators interested in learning more about Engineering SMArT Michigan should contact Tim Walker, CMP, at ESD at (248) 353-0735, ext. 115, or email twalker@esd.org.

Engineering SMArT Michigan is one of many programs designed by ESD to encourage interest in STEM careers among young people. The reason for the effort is simple: Michigan is in the midst of a critical engineering job shortage, with job opportunities abounding while the supply of qualified workers is dwindling.

In Engineering SMArT Michigan, students work with their teachers and volunteer engineer mentors. Through a series of learning modules, students are introduced to the basics of electricity, the electric grid, renewable energy, home energy efficiencies and how to do architectural drawings to scale.

The curriculum is aligned with ACT College-Ready Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and the Common Core State Standards. A pre- and post-test evaluates students’ readiness for adn knowledge of STEM careers and their proficiency in literacy, numeracy and science reasoning. The results are shared with schools and partners.

The program is scheduled to run from January to May 2015.

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