NATCHITOCHES – “Technology touches every aspect of our lives,” said Dr. Jafar Al-Sharab, head of Northwestern State University’s Department of Engineering Technology, as 285 high school students from Lincoln, Ouachita, Sabine and Calcasieu parishes convened for the Engineering Technology Symposium at NSU.
The agenda included an exhibition of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines offered at NSU with current students and faculty visiting with the high schoolers.
Exhibitors representing regional industries spoke with students about career opportunities and workforce needs. The event also included presentations on manufacturing technology, workforce development and the AMT program, a partnership between NSU and Central Louisiana Technical Community College in which students work part-time at a manufacturing facility while earning credit towards an associate degree in engineering technology. Speakers were Dr. Fran Lemoine, dean of NSU’s College of Arts and Sciences; Mike Skiles, director of the American Welding Society District 9; Connie Baker of RoyOMartin, Dr. M.A. Wabb, a professor in Louisiana State University’s College of Engineering, and Wayne Denley, vice president of Knowledge Platforms.
NSU’s chapter of IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology, presented on First Robotics and CubeSat.
“The demonstrations focus on hands-on experiences, solving real-world problems for industry, and exposes students to basic engineering concepts,” Al-Sharab said. “We are attracting students to the STEM field.
Northwestern State has the only industrial engineering technology program in Louisiana. Engineering Technology prepares electronics engineering technologists and industrial engineering technologists for entry into the high technology job market of tomorrow where technologists work closely with engineers to design install and maintain the complex systems today.
The Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering Technology, EET, and B.S. in Industrial Engineering Technology, IET, are accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET. Information on the Department and degree programs is available at https://engrtech.nsula.edu.
The symposium was the second in a series of events planned by NSU and Louisiana GEAR-Up. Upcoming events include an art expo in February 2020, ACT Boot Camp in March 2020 and a nursing and allied health fair in April 2020.
A federally funded national initiative, Louisiana GEAR Up (Louisiana Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is supported by the U.S. Department of Education, which gives grants to states or institutions of higher learning to create partnerships with high-poverty middle or high schools. In partnership with 16 school districts and the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA), Louisiana GEAR Up aims to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.