University of Vermont

College of
Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

High school students to explore engineering and the human experience

Release Date: 06-18-2009

Author: Dawn Marie Densmore
Phone: Array Fax: 802-656-8802

Approximately 100 high school students — in-state, out-of-state and international students — will participate in the UVM/GIV Engineering Institute this year. From June 27 through July 4, they will explore the links between technology and the human experience through hands-on engineering projects, laboratory experiences, faculty presentations and enlightening tours.

Students from Global Challenge will also participate. Global Challenge is a National Science Foundation (NSF) award that aligns U.S. students with students from India and Malaysia to work in teams on developing promising solutions to global issues.

The UVM/GIV future engineers will hear from engineers, computer scientists and mathematicians who will discuss societal problems and present engineering solutions. Four different engineering projects — renewable/sustainable energy engineering, robotics, aerospace engineering, and engineering design — will provide key research opportunities and exciting hands-on learning. Presentations during the week will provide students with information on research as well as career opportunities in aerospace, biomedical, civil, mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as statistics, mathematics and computer applications.

Students enrolled in the Renewable/Sustainable Energy Engineering Project will examine different energy systems, including solar, wind and biomass, and will participate in tours of the Winooski Dam and NRG in Hinesburg, VT. The Robotics students will design robots that can perform surveillance, food delivery, land mine detection and earthquake survivor location detection. They will also see robotics in action at Hazelett Strip-Casting Corporation in Colchester, VT. Students in the Aerospace Engineering Project will build prototype atmospheric probes using parachutes, small balloons and helicopter principles. General Dynamics will provide a demonstration at the Underhill Firing Range. And the Engineering Design Challenge students will design a machine that can disassemble the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) Keurig cups. GMCR in Waterbury will provide a tour for these students during the week.

"The Institute focuses on implementing sustainable engineering practices, which is the challenge all engineers and scientists currently face — how to use global resources in sustainable and equitable ways," says Domenico Grasso, Dean of the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) and keynote speaker for the Institute. "These students will be empowered with knowledge on how technology impacts our world." On July 1st, Dr. Grasso will assume the role of Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate College at the University of Vermont.

The Institute includes an awards ceremony where student projects will be recognized for: sustainability, benefit to humanity, best design, cost benefit, and communications. Students will also be recognized for a written "Technocratic Oath" that reflects life purpose, as well as for poetry reflective of their experience at the Institute.

In addition, student participants in the UVM/GIV Engineering Institute will be eligible to earn a place to represent the United States at 2009 Third International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO) in Taiwan. Two to four students will be chosen for the U.S. team based on tests during the Institute on Earth science, environmental science and sustainability issues such as climate change. The IESO students will have the chance to win a gold medal as they interact with international students to solve the world's environmental problems, do field science work, and experience great adventures in Taiwan. Katie Mimms, last year's representative from the UVM/GIV Engineering Institute, won a bronze medal.

The UVM/GIV Engineering Institute is one of seven Governor's Institutes of Vermont, including institutes on: Asian cultures, arts, current issues and youth activism, information technology, science and technology, and mathematics.