As STEM (Science, Technology,
Engineering and Math) education becomes more prevalent in our schools, it is
important that we continue to promote and get children excited about STEM
careers from a young age. As the Director of Engineering for the ESCO Division of Weir,
I am grateful for the opportunity to expand our pool of qualified candidates to
join our team and help grow and develop the next generation of young engineers.
We’re always looking for opportunities
to help get high school students interested in engineering. I was excited when
I heard from a fellow Oregon State University (OSU) engineering graduate, Tim
Fief, about a new class at West Albany High School.
Tim, a local Albany business owner and industrial
engineer, was struck by a comment from his son about the type of engineering he
chose to pursue and why he chose that discipline. Tim’s goal was to give
students a launch pad for thinking about what they wanted to do heading into
college or other secondary education. He shared his idea with the principal at
West Albany High School. After taking the first step toward initiating a new
curriculum for the high school, Tim became certified to teach high school
courses through the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program at Linn Benton
Tim has been volunteering to teach the
class, geared toward juniors and senioers with an interest in STEM and
different types of engineering. Curriculum
is broken into two-week (five classes) blocks, each of which are focused on a
specific engineering discipline. The first class features someone working as an
engineer, followed by an Oregon State engineering professor, a day of research,
a written or oral presentation from the students and, if possible, a field trip
to visit engineers working in that discipline.
The ESCO Division’s longtime connection
to OSU engineering made us a natural partner for the class. Throughout the
semester, three of our engineers have been visiting the class, representing three
disciplines: mechanical, environmental and electrical engineering.