Suffolk University and the Boston Public Schools are partnering to help recruit the next generation of engineers who will make a mark on the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field.
The new Electrical Engineering Scholars Program will provide full four-year scholarships to select Boston Public Schools graduates enrolled in the Electrical Engineering major at Suffolk. The students will also receive opportunities for enrichment and mentoring, such as a visit to Suffolk’s Friedman Field Station in northern Maine to study how electricity is generated from wind turbines, photovoltaics, and tide levels.
The scholarship is funded in part by a highly competitive, five-year, $600,000+ grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). A total of 15 students over six years will receive scholarships.
The Electrical Engineering major has tripled enrollment in the past three years while still placing a strong emphasis on providing individual attention to each student. The program aims to recruit students with financial need who will benefit from the academic support and sense of community in the department.
“We're a close-knit community with about 90 majors, so our students get a lot of personal attention from faculty and incredible hands-on learning opportunities,” said Dr. Liza Shatz, professor and one of the directors of the scholarship.
The BPS graduates will also have the opportunity to network and seek out mentors in the electrical power industry, a growing field in need of engineers.
But the Electrical Engineering Scholars aren't just going to receive benefits; they are also going to pay it forward. A major component of the program will be outreach in the Boston Public Schools to educate students on careers in engineering and STEM fields, as well as to encourage interest in the Suffolk Engineering program. The outreach will focus on three partner schools: TechBoston Academy, Dorchester Academy, and O’Bryant School of Math & Science.
The Engineering program already has a precedent for involvement in the Boston Public Schools community. “The final project in my ‘Energy and Sustainability at Suffolk’ course is to develop an experiment to teach high school students,” Dr. Shatz said. “The class conducted the experiment at all three schools.”
Freshman Electrical Engineering major Muntasir Faisal Aloufi (pictured) explained air resistance to Dorchester Academy students with an experiment about drag on a car. Other students built water rockets with the engineering club at TechBoston.
“This program has advantages for Boston Public Schools students, the scholarship recipients, and Suffolk as a whole,” Dr. Shatz said. “Suffolk will get great students who will go on to be leaders in their fields.”