June 29, 2012

A group of 28 teachers were challenged to (Re)New Orleans through engineering at the annual High School Teacher’s Engineering Awareness Program (HSTEAP). This year’s program was entitled “(Re)New Orleans and Louisiana with Engineering Education” and focused on renewing urban infrastructure. The two major challenges for the 2012 program were to build sustainable structures in a community and then to design a biofuel solution for the community they created. 

Teachers from parishes across Louisiana gathered at LSU June 4-8. Funded by Marathon Oil Corporation, Halliburton, and the National Science Foundation , HSTEAP is a one-week institute focusing on educating high school math-science teacher-pairs about the fundamental concepts of engineering, along with hands-on activities underscoring the connection between science, math and engineering. The intent of the program is for the teachers to implement the knowledge gained from the institute in their math and science courses at their schools.

“Through the program, I was hoping to learn more inquiry-based lessons and principles of engineering to incorporate into my classroom,” said Cecelia Gillam, a biology and physical science teacher from Hahnville High School.  “We want to keep kids interested in exploring engineering and aspiring to be engineers.”

The program helped teachers learn how to strategically group students together for projects.

“I learned about hands-on, project-based learning that improves critical thinking skills through the program,” said Lisa Ranney, a chemistry and calculus teacher from Ovey Comeaux High School. “I also learned how to incorporate different personality styles into a group.”

HSTEAP facilitators, Christina White and Joules Webb, employed hands-on activities to emphasize the connection between science, math and engineering. The intent of the program is for teachers to implement the knowledge gained from the workshop in their math and science courses at their schools. The HSTEAP projects focus on the National Academy of Engineering’s "Grand Challenges of Engineering," which range from making alternative energy sources more economically viable to developing sustainable building structures. 

Webb said she believes it is important to engage students and to give them skills to solve problems. White and Webb taught the teachers how to implement designed-based learning into the teachers’ classrooms.

“The evidence that our week together was successful will emerge as the 2012-2013 school year unrolls,” Webb said. “The goal is teachers will implement design-based learning lessons in their classrooms exposing students to the myriad of possibilities in the field of engineering and connect with engineering professionals in the classroom environment.” 

White believed that the 21st Century Engineering Grand Challenges can be addressed with innovative STEM solutions.

“From this professional development, the HSTEAP teachers and their students will have the tools to engage in intriguing, design-based projects in the high school classroom that teach important STEM concepts while also applying their learning to these 21st Century Grand Challenges,” White said. “We hope to inspire teachers and students to know that they can make the world a healthier, happier and safer place with engineering education.”

This year, for the first time, the program held a mixer so that former HSTEAP participants could network with current HSTEAP participants and faculty and staff from the College of Engineering. Dean Richard Koubek and Associate Dean for Academic Programs Warren Waggenspack, as well as Assistant Dean for Diversity Programs Jada Lewis, attended and spoke to the group. The mixer was held in an effort to increase interaction and contact between the College of Engineering faculty and the high school teachers.

This year’s participants included:

Lori Jackson Fanning and JoAnna Miketinas, East Ascension High School; Cecelia Gillam and Neili Loupe, Hahnville High School; Debbie Iblings and Jamie Hebert, Lafayette High School; Nancy S. Harrelson and Alice Didier, Live Oak High School; Andreas Gboloo and Thomas Swain, Northdale Magnet High School; Sarah Scott and Amanda Jeffers, Opelousas High School Magnet Academy for Biomedical Sciences; Lisa Ranney, Kathy Koch, Faith LeBlanc and Shawnessy Bloom, Ovey Comeaux High School; Vicki Scott-Clark and Leslie Smith, Peabody Magnet High School; Tonnette Washington and Evelyn Friar, Scotlandville Magnet High School; Shelly Barbay and Nancy Roberts Gutentag, St. Amant High School; Donald Johnson and Ruth Crockett, Tara High School; Patricia Shuffield and Dottie Hartman, Walker High School; Christolyn French and Eunhee Choi, Woodlawn Leadership Academy.

For more information on HSTEAP, visit http://www.eng.lsu.edu/diversity/precollege/hsteap

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Article written by Elise Bernard, communications intern. For more information, contact Cassie Arceneaux, College of Engineering, carcen6@lsu.edu or (225) 578-0092.



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