In the last several years, there has been a steady and ominous decrease in the number of students pursuing engineering and technology degrees. Some of this decline is due to the downturn in the auto industry and news reports of jobs moving oversees, but much of it is due to a lack of understanding of the career opportunities engineering offers.
How can you spark your students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)?
How can you show them what career opportunities are available to them in these fields?
Ask an engineer to speak to your class!
Lawrence Technological University’s engineering professors can help you illustrate how the theory in your science, technology, and mathematics courses can be applied in future careers. They can also stimulate your students to consider technical degrees after high school.
Offered free of charge, “Ask the Engineer” is a service provided by Lawrence Tech in the belief that the future success and prosperity of our country and our children lie in innovation and creative problem solving. Lawrence Tech engineering professors will visit your classroom and discuss topics relevant to your lessons. Choose a presentation listed below and book your speaker by contacting Lawrence Tech’s College of Engineering at 248.204.2500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Nowadays, robots are used in a multitude of applications, from surgical operations on patients, to fixing hardware malfunctions on space stations. How are these mechanical systems designed? How do we control these machines to insure they perform their tasks accurately?||Giscard Kfoury, PhD, is faculty advisor to Lawrence Tech’s student Formula SAE® racing team. Kfoury has done extensive research in the areas of robotic manipulator control and observer design, engine vibration and friction estimation, and experimental engine friction measurement. His current research interests include hybrid powertrain modeling, robotics, and unmanned vehicle modeling and control.|
|As dramatized in the movie, Apollo 13, engineers solve problems creatively but with a systematic approach utilizing a unique set of tools. What is this approach and how do the skills learned in STEM courses create the foundation? What are the prospects for engineering problem solvers?||Andrew Gerhart, PhD, is director of Lawrence Tech’s thermal science and aerodynamics laboratories. Specializing in the thermalfluid sciences with a concentration in experimental fluid mechanics, heat flow, and power generation, Gerhart has conducted research for Sandia National Laboratories and the U.S. Department of Energy.|
|Innovation will be the driving force for our economy, and engineers will have to adopt the “entrepreneurial mindset” to be successful. This is true whether they are the next Bill Gates creating their own company or “intrapreneurs” who innovate within a company. How and why should students adopt an entrepreneurial mindset?||Don Reimer is a serial entrepreneur and the director of entrepreneurial programs at Lawrence Tech. A certified management consultant, he runs his own consulting firm, the Small Business Strategy Group of Southfield. He advises Lawrence Tech’s student Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization and oversees the University’s Entrepreneurial Lecture Series.|
|Noise Pollution||How noisy is too noisy? When does too much noise become unhealthy? How do we evaluate noise levels? Students will use noise meters to chart the outdoor and indoor noise level patterns of a lawn mower and a vacuum cleaner. They’ll explore the characteristics of sound and the physics of noise propagation and evaluate methods to reduce noise to acceptable level.||Edmund Yuen, PhD, PE, is the chair of Lawrence Tech’s Department of Civil Engineering. His expertise includes environmental and water resources engineering. He has been an engineering consultant for Chrysler over the last 12 years, working on a diverse range of projects in stamping plants, paint shops, and assembly plant facilities.|
|Going Green||Being "green" is more than just recycling or using less oil. It involves both alternative and renewable energy systems, as well as conserving energy and optimizing traditional energy systems. What is the state of "green" engineering and what opportunities exist for engineers in the growing field of sustainability? Note that this is for grades 9 through 12 only.||Robert Fletcher, PhD, is director of Lawrence Tech’s alternative energy program. In addition to industry experience that includes developing advanced radioisotope power supplies for use by NASA in its deep-space missions, Fletcher is currently researching fuel cell durability, battery performance, power and energy for autonomous robots, wind turbines, solar photovoltaic systems, biofuels, and renewable energy systems.|
|In urban areas, rainwater flows from lawns, streets, and parking lots into drains and sewers, picking up a toxic mix of gas, oil, fertilizer, salt, and chemicals, which then empties into our rivers and lakes. A way to improve this is Low Impact Development, a process of retrofitting urban landscapes to better control water runoff – and cleanse it at the same time – before it empties into the watershed. Students will learn about landscape design features such as green roofs and rain gardens.||Donald Carpenter, PhD, PE, LEED AP, director of Lawrence Tech’s Great Lakes Stormwater Management Institute, specializes in Low Impact Development, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and innovative stormwater best management practices.|
|Systems modeling and simulation is the virtual mimicking of the operation of a real system, such as the day-to-day transactions of a bank, the activity of a stock portfolio over time, or the performance of a factory assembly line. Systems simulation makes it possible for businesses and institutions to analyze their operations to improve efficiency and profitability. Find out more about this growing field and the career opportunities it presents.||Ahad Ali, PhD, has taught and conducted research all over the world. His areas of interest and expertise are manufacturing systems modeling, simulation and optimization, reliability, web-enabled monitoring, lean manufacturing, artificial intelligence, scheduling, logistics, and supply chain management.|
in Green Designs
|All over the world, access to fresh water – or the lack of it – can lead to strife and social unrest. In the Great Lakes region, we have a resource of enormous value: the Great Lakes contain 20 percent of the world’s surface freshwater and supply drinking water to 42 million people. Learn about strategies that can conserve and manage the water supply, such as rainwater harvesting, grey water reuse, and water use reduction.||Donald Carpenter, PhD, PE, LEED AP, director of Lawrence Tech’s Great Lakes Stormwater Management Institute, specializes in Low Impact Development, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and innovative stormwater best management practices.|
|Which Way Does
the Wind Blow?
|In addition to simulating conditions using mathematical models, engineers build scaled physical models to better understand the physics of fluids (liquids and gases) in motion. Students view models that deal with such issues as air pollution, navigational shipping channels, orienting baseball stadiums to maximize the effect of wind on the frequency of home runs, and reducing the impact of wind on high-rise buildings. They also see a demonstration of how wind tunnel modeling is used to diffuse paint odors from a large automotive paint shop.||Edmund Yuen, PhD, PE, is the chair of Lawrence Tech’s Department of Civil Engineering. His expertise includes environmental and water resources engineering. He has been an engineering consultant for Chrysler over the last 12 years working on a diverse range of projects in stamping plants, paint shops, and assembly plant facilities.|
|While women have made significant advances into most of the professions, they are still underrepresented in engineering. In 2003 women comprised only 11 percent of the engineering workforce. Only about 20 percent of all engineering degrees are awarded to women although women now outnumber men in college. As a result, there is significant demand for women in engineering. The opportunities are great, but how should women prepare to be successful in the field?||Pat Shamamy, PhD, PE, is the faculty advisor for Lawrence Tech’s student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. Shamamy has worked in industry on alloy development for nuclear-powered aircraft, fuel cell research, manufacturing optimization, and agile manufacturing. She recently spent six weeks at Shanghai University teaching engineering materials to Chinese students and also runs her own engineering consulting company.|
|Sports Injury Prevention||Metro Detroit can take pride in its contributions to automotive safety over the past 50 years, but as our ability to prevent fatal injuries grows, we must refocus our efforts on severe and costly injuries that affect a growing proportion of our population: athletes.||Eric G. Meyer, PhD, is the director of biomedical engineering of Lawrence Tech's Experimental Biomechanics Laboratory. His primary research interests are biomechanics during sports injury and tissue engineering.|