Project Details


The mission of the Engineering Ambassador Program, which originated in the College of Engineering at Pennsylvania State University, is to increase the diversity of those seeking engineering degrees and to strengthen the communication and leadership skills of those currently seeking engineering degrees. To increase the diversity, the Program emphasizes placing the right messenger (college engineering students with advanced communication skills) with the right message (engineering contributes to the health, happiness, and safety of our everyday lives) in front of middle and high school classes. In addition, the Program has empowered these messengers with advanced presentation strategies to communicate the message effectively. Numerous faculty and department heads from across the United States are expressing interest in emulating the Ambassadors program at their own institutions. This project entails the organization of a workshop to disseminate the successful Engineering Ambassador Program to 20 more universities.

Intellectual Merit: Despite the many efforts to inform the public about the career opportunities in engineering, there is still a dramatic lack of understanding by many high school students, teachers, and guidance counselors about what engineering is. Another problem, which at first might seem unrelated, is that few opportunities are given to most engineering students for public speaking that takes place outside of the classroom. This lack of public speaking experience by students and lack of grounding of presentation principles taught in the classroom has led to continued comments from industry indicating the need for students to have strong public speaking skills. The intellectual merit of this program lies in addressing both of these problems with one program. First, the program seeks to educate not only the high school students, but also their teachers and guidance counselors, on the opportunities that exist with an engineering degree. In addition, the program provides a unique opportunity for our engineering students to be better educated in advanced communication skills by giving them an out-of-the-classroom public speaking opportunity that will help to provide confidence.

Broader Impacts: The broader impacts of the proposed workshop will be to (1) strengthen the communication skills of those students participating in the Engineering Ambassador Program leading to a more informed public, and (2) recruit a diverse population of students to study engineering by using the messages promoted by the National Academy of Engineering. This workshop also provides an opportunity to establish a national community of Engineering Ambassadors.

Effective start/end date4/1/123/31/13


  • National Science Foundation: $50,000.00


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