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NSF Awards UMD, Partners $4M to Expand National High School Engineering Program

More Students to Have Access to Engineering for US All

By Chris Bender

Student in engineering class

New funding from the National Science Foundation will expand the reach of Engineering for US All, a program to make engineering accessible in high school launched by UMD President Darryll J. Pines in 2018.

Photo by Shutterstock

The University of Maryland and partner institutions will receive $4 million over the next three years to broaden the impact of Engineering for US All (e4usa), a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded program that makes engineering more accessible to high school students and educators.

e4usa provides an educational curriculum for students to learn and demonstrate engineering principles, skills and practices while training educators interested in teaching. University of Maryland President Darryll J. Pines is the program’s principal investigator and was instrumental in launching e4usa in 2018 while serving as dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering.

“This is a program that fills me with pride and hope, because it builds toward a future where engineering training is available to all. When we partner with schools that have the benefit of a diverse student body, we are reaching those who have previously been underrepresented in engineering and, in many cases, have been unable to access engineering courses at all,” said Pines. “I know firsthand the life-changing benefit of a quality engineering education, and I am proud that our university and Engineering for US All will continue breaking down barriers for future students.”

The only national high school engineering program of its kind, e4usa has already worked with 36 high schools and more than 2,000 students in 12 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The new NSF funding will help extend e4usa’s reach to include approximately 5,000 students and 50 teachers nationwide. Students are recruited from public, independent and parochial schools in rural, suburban and urban settings. e4usa students explore engineering in society, develop professional skills, and engage in community-focused engineering design experiences, all aimed at helping them see themselves as engineers.

“Through e4usa, we’re building engineering literacy in all students and creating a deeper and more diverse pool of engineers,” said Stacy Klein-Gardner, adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University who serves as co-director and co-PI for e4usa. “Unlike some other current offerings for introductory engineering courses, e4usa has low barriers to entry and is less expensive to implement. Students need only be in Algebra I, and educators can learn to teach engineering, no matter their educational background.”

Other e4usa partners include Arizona State University, Morgan State University and the University of Indianapolis.

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