On Saturday, April 26, the VESTED (Villanova Engineering, Science, and Technology Enrichment and Development) program celebrated its most successful spring program to date.
The program brings about 40 students from high schools in Philadelphia and the surrounding region to campus on eight Saturdays in the spring. Students, who are able to come back from year to year, learn about engineering through a combination of lectures from industry speakers and faculty as well as hands-on activities with the help of Villanova engineering students. They also receive mentoring in college application and preparation and career advice. VESTED students who come back for second and third years work on advanced projects in small teams.
The celebration of the spring 2008 program brought together over 100 students, parents, and Villanova mentors in the auditorium in the CEER building. All students received certificates for participation, and special awards were given for achievements in specific areas, such as best reports on experiments, best journals, and best posters. There were also awards given for “Logic Master” and the “Innovative Engineer.” The posters were done by the students who were in their second or third years. Topics included designing a better way to clean up oil spills in the ocean and designing a cell phone for senior citizens. Highlights of the program included a giant rocket launch and the showing of a video of the semester’s work.
Following the event, the parent of one of the VESTED students wrote in an email to the University, “I appreciate the time and dedication of the Villanova students in mentoring my daughter. This is a great program and I'm grateful [she] had the opportunity to participate. [My daughter and I] hope she is given the opportunity again next year.”
In addition to the spring program, VESTED also has a summer introduction to engineering program on campus. It runs for four weeks, four days per week. Students are taught by Villanova engineering faculty assisted by engineering students. The College of Engineering also hosts the BEST Robotics competition in the fall of each year. This event brings about 350 middle school students to campus for a kick off event, and Villanova engineering students mentor some of the teams and run the final competition.