New York U Program to Give Teachers STEM Industry Experience

STEM teachers will receive a dose of work outside of the classroom as part of a New York University (NYU) program designed to help them understand how to inject real-world projects into their lessons. NYU's Tandon School of Engineering is adding the embedded job component to its annual summer teacher project, Science and Mechatronics Aided Research for Teachers with an Entrepreneurship expeRience (SMARTER).

The program brings middle and high school teachers together to help them learn more about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as robotics, specifically, and entrepreneurship. A new $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation will allow them to gain first-hand experience in STEM disciplines and inspire them to help their students pursue engineering careers.

Teachers will attend NYU Tandon's Mechatronics Lab to spend two weeks in guided training and four weeks studying a specific subject, such as wearable robotic exoskeletons, microfluidic biosensing or marine robotics. Then they'll spend another week working at an industry sponsor. Among the companies that have signed on as sponsors are Honeybee Robotics, Atair Aerospace and Con Edison.

"Teachers will return to their respective schools capable of integrating project-based learning in their science and math curriculum; enhancing labs by integrating real-world technology used by scientists and engineers; and applying their authentic understanding of the engineering workforce to improve their students' awareness of STEM career opportunities," said Vikram Kapila, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, who founded the SMARTER program, in a prepared statement.

NYU Tandon Dean Katepalli Sreenivasan added that the school is "excited" to help teachers inspire their students in STEM. "From this encounter, teachers will come away with a broader understanding of the many exciting careers that engineering offers their students and gain new insight into the educational curriculum their students will need," he said. "We thank the NSF and our industry partners for helping us raise awareness about the great societal benefits that engineers create."

Applications will be accepted beginning in early 2017. Program and registration details will be available this fall here and here.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.