NovaEDGE Program Introduces High School Students to Engineering
by Hanna Quinn ’16 ChE
Stephen Jones, PhD, Associate Dean of Student & Strategic Programs and Frank Hampton, PhD, assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, led Villanova University’s inaugural NovaEDGE program this July. The camp fostered a group of high school students interested in pursuing engineering. These students were of different ethnic backgrounds and came from this region as well as out of state. For five days, they attended lectures covering the different engineering fields and conducted hands-on experiments, an experience most are not exposed to in high school.
Dr. Jones says, “The overall goal of the camp was to help students successfully understand all components of engineering: mechanical, civil, chemical, electrical and computer.” Chemical and electrical engineering were the favorites among the group. By the end of the program, the students were able to have conversations amongst themselves about the different disciplines, and could work together to solve problems.
The diversity of the camp allowed for many different students to come together and learn in a new way. Groups were mixed, so everyone had an opportunity to view engineering from a different perspective, but at the same time, the students were able to discover commonalities in their perspectives.
Dr. Jones expects many of the participants to continue their pursuit of engineering. “Many of them were able to crystalize which area of engineering they want to consider,” he said. Dr. Jones plans to expand the camp for next year and also hopes to involve some of the NovaEDGE students in the Villanova Engineering, Science, Technology, Enrichment, and Development (VESTED) program. VESTED, which takes place over eight Saturdays in the spring, introduces engineering to students in underprivileged communities, encouraging them to pursue further study.
By the end of the week, NovaEDGE had accomplished its goal of inspiring and exciting its diverse group of students to continue their engineering studies. Dr. Jones notes, “When they were asked in a survey if they would recommend the NovaEDGE program to their friends, 100 percent said yes”.