Mentors Needed For ESD’s ‘Engineering SMArT Michigan’

SOUTHFIELD — A locally created program that has high school students design the energy-efficient homes of tomorrow is seeking mentors for its teams.

Engineering SMArT Michigan, now in its fourth year, is a rigorous, hands-on science, math, architecture and technology (SMArT) project. It was designed by a team of local experts convened by The Engineering Society of Detroit.

Through a series of learning modules, students will be introduced to the basics of energy, alternative energy technologies, and the energy grid, in an atmosphere of fun activities and team building. They will apply these concepts in a real-life setting by working in teams to design a house. The culmination of the program is a presentation of their team-designed house at a competition
between all participating schools where they will vie for scholarships and other prizes. Every member of last year’s top three teams received a scholarship offer of up to $30,000 from Lawrence Technological University.

Engineering SMArT Michigan provides students with experiences intended to engage their interest in STEM related careers in an effort to encourage more students to enter engineering and technical professions. During the 15 week project, students learn how to:
• Explain energy and how it can be used efficiently
• Use the engineering design process
• Apply alternative energy findings to a design model
• Work collaboratively in a team setting
• Present findings to a larger audience

Volunteer mentors are a critical element to the success of the program and are needed to help teach and coach in the classroom. There are two groups of mentors — Energy Module and Presentation Module.

Energy Module mentors are responsible for teaching students about the basics of energy, energy consumption, the electric grid, alternative energy technologies, and energy efficiency.

Presentation Module mentors assist students with implementing what they have learned from the Energy Module mentors. They will teach how to use scale and drafting guidelines, as well as coaching students through their essays and oral presentations. At the end of the Presentation Module, the students’ final project will consist of engineering drawings (site plan, floor plan, section, and elevation), an essay, and an oral presentation for the competition.

The 15-week program gets under way in late January and finishes up in late May at the competition. Energy Module mentors are asked to teach a minimum of one class period per week for two weeks. Presentation Module mentors are assigned to a school and asked to teach a minimum of one class period per week for eight weeks. Efforts will be made to schedule multiple Presentation Module mentors at each school in order to ensure at least one mentor is in the classroom each week.

To volunteer as a mentor, contact Jasmine Sisson, PE, at

The major funder of the Engineering SMArT Michigan program is United Way for Southeastern Michigan. Sponsors include Denso, Lawrence Technological University, FirstMerit Bank and Parsons Brinckerhoff.

The schools participating in this year’s Engineering SMArT Michigan are:
* Central Collegiate Academy, Detroit
* Cody-Detroit Institute of Technology College Prep High School, Detroit
* Hamtramck High School, Hamtramck
* Harper Woods High School, Harper Woods
* Henry Ford High School, Detroit
* Melvindale High School, Melvindale
* Oak Park High School, Oak Park
* Osborn Collegiate Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology, Detroit
* River Rouge High School, River Rouge
* Southfield Regional Academic Campus, Southfield

Class days and times are currently being confirmed. But please contact Jasmine as soon as possible to express your interest so you may receive priority in scheduling.

A training for Energy Module mentors is being planned for Tuesday, Jan. 13 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at ESD Headquarters, 20700 Civic Center Drive, Suite 450, Southfield.

Sponsorships are also still available. If interested, contact Elana Shelef at 248-353-0735, ext. 119, or

For more information, visit

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