Students explore academic majors at Penn State Behrend’s High School Academy
ERIE, PA – âOK, here’s a question for everyone: What hasn’t been built somehow by engineers? “
Melanie Ford, lecturer in computer science and software engineering and director of Youth Education Outreach, posed this question to the crowd of high school students attending Penn State Behrend’s High School Academy on June 29. After a brief pause, a hand towards the middle of the room.
“People?” the student replied cautiously.
âYes,â Ford replied. “We’re pretty much the only thing that wasn’t designed or built by an engineer.”
For the correct answer, the student was awarded a small prize, but that was not his only point to remember. Here he learned the importance of engineers.
It used to be the accountants. Before that, it was creative writers and then scientists.
Over 30 students attended this year’s High School Academy on campus. They participated in hands-on activities and explored academic majors in the four schools on campus: Black School of Business, Engineering, Humanities and Social Sciences and Science.
âWith so many careers available for kids, we wanted to show them how the different specializations at each school connect to those careers,â Ford said. âFor example, if your dream job is at NASA, how do you get there? They hire engineers, scientists, nurses, writers, and accountants, so there are a number of paths that can be taken to get to NASA. We wanted to show the kids the path to the career of their dreams.
In the School of Science, students were able to use the confocal microscope, which differs from a traditional light microscope in that it uses light from one or more lasers to illuminate a narrow section of a sample.
At the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, they toured campus television and radio stations. At the Black School of Business, they created a product and developed a marketing plan.
The goal was for students to leave the day with an idea for a career or field that they might like to pursue.
âI hope the attendees came away with a better idea of ââthe variety of majors in colleges and how they lead to careers,â said Ford. “Most importantly, I hope they could find their passion and now they know how to pursue it.”