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'Engineers on Wheels' Roll into Florida Schools

"Engineers on Wheels" will be rolling into high school campuses all over South Florida this fall. The Chrysler van, loaded with hands-on activities and engineering experiments, will visit classrooms as part of a Florida International University (FIU) initiative to introduce the subject to high school students.
FIU's Engineers on Wheels van will start visiting high schools in South Florida this fall.

The project will allow FIU students, led by their professors, to demonstrate such subjects as mechanical and materials engineering, computer science and information technology, and biomedical engineering for their high school counterparts.

"This will give our students the kinds of high-tech, hands-on education they need to prepare for future success in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects and careers," said Cristian Carranza, who oversees science, math, career and technical education for Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

The FIU Engineers on Wheels initiative is sponsored by the Chrysler Group and the Chrysler Foundation. The Chrysler Group donated the 2014 Ram ProMaster van and the company's charitable arm, the Chrysler Foundation, donated $15,000 to establish the program.

Georgette Borrego Dulworth, director of talent acquisition and diversity for Chrysler, said the company got involved because it wants to feed the pipeline of STEM students who will eventually join the engineering profession, possibly even to work for Chrysler. She said the company has hired 20 FIU graduates over the last three years.

"Inspiring young, bright people to pursue an education in careers in STEM is essential to Chrysler Group's ability to compete and succeed," Dulworth said.

The Engineers on Wheels project is a byproduct of the college's annual Engineering Expo which, for each of the last 13 years, has brought 1,400 K-12 students from Miami-Dade and Broward County Schools to the campus to learn firsthand about the possibilities in STEM fields.

"Engineers on Wheels gives us the opportunity to take our lab experiments and instruments to the schools and impact a larger audience," said FIU College of Engineering and Computing Dean Amir Mirmiran, "to show them what engineers do and what it takes to become an engineer."

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.