Penn Engineering is an active force in Philadelphia area and the surrounding communities. Through its interaction with local schools, corporations, and other organizations, Penn Engineering is working to increase access to technology, resources, and the knowledge to make our community a better place.
Take Communitech, which works to refurbish computers for local churches, schools and community centers, or our K-12 teacher workshops, which offer opportunities for local teachers to expand their knowledge of special areas like materials engineering and nanotechnology.
Some of the most important aspects of our activities in local communities are the activities we have with students in local schools. We recognize the need for outreach to students in order to get them interested in the STEM fields (Science,Technology, Engineering and Math) at an early age. For this reason, we establish connections with local students at the middle school level, and continue to offer activities for students though high school. Here are some of the programs that Penn Engineering maintains in our local schools.
Middle School Programs
LEGO League Philadelphia Tournament: Penn Engineering serves as the FIRST LEGO League's Eastern Pennsylvania Championship partner. The Championship competition welcomes nearly 1,000 middle school students and their teachers and families from the region. This event is comprised of a day-long series of friendly competitions in running their robots built from LEGO kits. The Championship is preceded by numerous Qualifier competitions in our region, which are sponsored by partner organizations such as the Franklin Institute. During the school year, we offer teacher workshops to assist educators in working with their school teams, and Penn Engineering Undergraduate and Graduate students mentor teams through the design and strategy-planning phases. Learn more here.
Innoworks Academy at Penn: A one-week day program in the summer for underserved Philadelphia middle school students providing a hands-on experience in science and engineering. This program utilizes Innoworks’ Explorations curriculum, and each day covers a different theme: Extreme Biomes, Body Expeditions, Flight and Fury, Extraterrestrial Excursions, and Marine Adventures. Each morning, students engage in activities in order to learn important concepts about that day’s theme, and in the afternoon they participate in team missions that incorporate the various concepts that were covered earlier in the day. Click here to learn more about the program.
Communitech Middle-School Mentoring Program (CoMP): Communitech students serve as mentors for middle school students interested in technology. CoMP teaches middle-schoolers skills in programming, refurbishing, hardware fundamentals, typing and internet safety. The main goals of the program are to spread computer literacy throughout Philadelphia’s youth and to increase their access to technology. At the end of the program, students take home the computer that s/he has refurbished. Learn more about the program here.
The Girls in Engineering Math and Science Camp (GEMS): GEMS is a summer program for middle school girls in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade who will be 7th, 8th or 9th graders the following academic year. Join us for a great week of hands-on science, math, and engineering at Penn! You’ll learn about what’s going on in Bioengineering, Nanotechnology, Materials Science, Graphics and Computing. Over the course of the week, you’ll learn how engineering is part of your every day life. You’ll do experiments with different materials, learn about DNA and work on your own animation project. Read more...
Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Alternative Energy Education Program: Penn EWB students mentor and educate local high school students and implement a sustainable development project on the school’s campus. EWB members and Saul High School students have created a Biomass Digester that is used to educate the students on renewable energy. Saul High School students will soon be able to power the school’s farm vehicles with biodiesel fuel from this project. Topics will soon expand to include water, fish and climate change. Read more about the program.
Summer BOOT UP! Camp for High School Students: Boot UP! Camps are two 1-week day programs for High School students who excel in math and have an interest in computers. Students will spend time working on a variety of technologies, creating their own games and animations, working with multi-media textiles, and Programming in Java. The program is FREE for admitted applicants, and students may choose one of two sessions: Session I will run from June 20 to June 24 and Session II from June 27th to July 1st. Applications will be available in February and due in March. The program is open to both girls and boys with priority for students traditionally underrepresented in computer science. Read more...
High School Girls Outreach Programs: Groups of high school girls from the Philadelphia area participate in day-long events that introduce them to engineering and computer science. They shadow and engineering undergraduate for the day, attend classes, and participate in special workshops. (Sponsored by Penn’s Society of Women Engineers and the Women in Computer Science Clubs).
"Learn About Engineering" Service Learning Programs: Penn Engineering offers service learning courses in partnership with various high school math, science and technology teachers. Penn undergraduates teach high school students about engineering through courses in which they are enrolled. Offerings have included Bioengineering, Computer Graphics, Electrical and Systems Engineering, Robotics, Construction and Visualization, Computer Aided Design, and Computer Usage Skills.
Summer Mentorship Program: High School students in grades 11-12 from the school district of Philadelphia and Philadelphia charter school enroll in a 4-week day program to learn about engineering through practical, hands-on classes and projects. The high school students in this program learn how to refurbish computers, install software and perform basic web design. Students also learn about responsible internet practices and safety. At the end of the program, students take home the computer that s/he has refurbished. Additionally, students refurbish computers for a community service project. (Sponsored jointly with the University Provost’s Office).
Campus Visits Program: Throughout the year, middle and high school groups arrange to tour Penn Engineering’s teaching facilities and research laboratories to hear about engineering and associated disciplines. Request more information.