The Metroplex Technology Business Council (MTBC) has selected the A&M-Commerce STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Pre-service Teacher Development workshop as a finalist in the “Tech Titan of the Future – University” category of the 13th Annual Tech Titans Awards. Technology companies and individuals in North Texas who have contributed significantly to their industries are acknowledged as Tech Titans each year.
The “Tech Titan of the Future – University” award recognizes an accredited educational institution in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex that creatively encourages students to choose engineering and technology careers.
According to Bill Sproull, president andCEOof the MTBC – the largest technology trade organization in Texas – A&M-Commerce and its fellow nominees are “pioneers [that] are impacting tomorrow’s technology today with their innovation, leadership and advocacy.”
A week-long summer workshop led by Dr. Brent Donham, A&M-Commerce’s STEM Teacher Development program engaged 10 pre-service educators in activities that would help them shape student attitudes toward engineering and teach them how to explain an engineer’s work to students. Donham, head of the engineering and technology department, designed the activities to be hands-on experiences based on scientific principles.
Participants used spaghetti and string to build support structures, created patterns on metal via chemical reactions, designed water pump parts and programmed robots. These activities, which could be incorporated into the teachers’ future lesson plans, were used to illustrate professional engineering applications such as manufacturing and software development.
Science teacher Chad Spurlock said the workshop expanded his network and educated him on how vast the field of engineering is.
“It is important that we are able to help students relate what they are doing in the classroom to certain engineering fields and practices,” said Spurlock.
The workshop members also traveled to Greenville, Texas, to tour L-3, a technology company that provides solutions for national security organizations, government agencies and commercial customers. In addition to meeting with professional engineers, the participants viewed the company’s laboratories and an aircraft in the retrofitting process.
At a luncheon with representatives from L-3 and Raytheon, a defense and aerospace systems company, students listened to speakers who presented unconventional routes to becoming engineers and encouraged them to look beyond “being good at math and science” as the primary qualification for a prospective engineer.
Carrie Bradley, a Raytheon engineer, said the workshop is a “game-changer” that will begin the work of giving all children the opportunity to become engineers.
“Engineers do not create engineers; math and science teachers do. This is the best program that I have seen to date,” said Bradley.
Attendees of the Tech Titans Awards Gala at the Hotel InterContinental in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, Aug. 23, will learn if A&M-Commerce’s program is the winner in its category.