LEAD Summer Engineering Institute Returns to Villanova University for Fifth Consecutive Year

Hosted by Villanova’s College of Engineering, the Summer Engineering Institute provides diverse, high-achieving high school students the opportunity to explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers

LEAD Summer Engineering Institute Returns to Villanova University for Fifth Consecutive Year

VILLANOVA, Pa. – For the fifth consecutive summer, Villanova University’s College of Engineering will play host to the Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Summer Engineering Institute. The Summer Engineering Institute (SEI) is a national program which provides diverse, high-achieving high school sophomores and juniors the opportunity to explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers. Villanova is the only engineering school in the country slated to host LEAD’s 2014 Summer Engineering Institute.

As part of LEAD SEI at Villanova, more than 30 high-achieving high school sophomores and juniors from across the country will call campus home from July 6-23. During this three-week program, students will learn in interactive engineering classes, participate in hands-on  engineering research projects, visit top regional companies and hear from University faculty and other industry experts. Goals of the program include raising students’ awareness of engineering education and majors; increasing student’ understanding of careers that emphasize engineering; and, reinforcing to students the many ways engineering is integral to society.

This program has positively impacted the number of students choosing STEM education. LEAD Engineering notes that 62 percent of the students entering college who participated in the LEAD Summer Engineering Institutes from 2008-11 planned to major in either engineering or computer science.

The United States continues to lag behind other countries in science and math, however. In the most recent Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the U.S. ranked 20th in science and 27th in math out of 34 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. To ensure the nation remains competitive globally, experts continue to stress the need for an even greater commitment to STEM education and preparation.

Answering this important call to action on a critical national issue, the College of Engineering at Villanova University continues to be a leader in promoting STEM education and careers.  The College currently has eight STEM outreach programs, including the LEAD Summer Engineering Institute.

"The LEAD Program provides an excellent opportunity for diverse students to learn from leading Villanova University engineering faculty,” said Dr. Stephen Jones, Associate Dean for Student and Strategic Programs, Villanova University College of Engineering. “LEAD students learn how engineering changes the world and their role in creating a brighter future. Through this program, students understand that they are a part of a global effort to create a more sustainable world."

The SEI focuses on a different themed curriculum each year, with this summer’s program centered on ‘Developing the Professional Engineer.’  Students will have classes in variety of engineering disciplines, including Chemical, Civil and Environmental, Electrical and Computer, Mechanical, and Sustainable. The Program’s Director, Dr. Frank Hampton – Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Villanova University – developed this curriculum to give students the most diverse and well-rounded engineering experience.   Other special session topics during the three-week program include Forensics Engineering, Bioengineering, Professional Practice and Project Management.  

“Our goal is to keep things current and give the students a variety of opportunities so they can make the most educated decision regarding a career in engineering,” said Hampton.

Other components of the SEI program include a service learning project, where the students will develop a curriculum to educate middle school students in engineering, and a research experience where students will select a project in one of the major disciplines and work with faculty and graduate student advisors.  The research will be presented in a closing session on July 23rd.  In addition, the program partners with Dow Chemical to bring in working professionals to speak with students about their work experiences, and to bring the students to visit the Dow Research and Development Center in Collegeville.

“We’ve done our best to replicate a true engineering college experience, particularly, a Villanova Engineering experience that focuses on hands-on learning,” added Hampton.

Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) was founded nearly 30 years ago as a national partnership of top U.S. corporations and graduate business schools encouraging talented students from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in business. LEAD Engineering was launched in 2008 as a response to the high volume of LEAD Business applicants indicating an interest in the field of engineering. The program’s mission is to lay the foundation through an intense curriculum for an increase in the number and quality of diversified students interested in careers in engineering and other technical fields. To be considered students submitted an application to the LEAD program and were selected by the program’s directors. Click here for more information.

About Villanova University College of Engineering:  Founded in 1905, Villanova University College of Engineering is committed to an educational program that emphasizes technical excellence and a liberal arts education within the framework of the University’s Augustinian Catholic tradition. The result: “Whole-Brain Engineers,” who pursue both knowledge and wisdom, and aspire to ethical and moral leadership within their chosen careers, their community and the world.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.