2010 Summer Academy in Aero-science, Engineering & Mathematics
Reflecting a partnership with expertise in engineering and aerospace science on the one hand, and gifted education and child development, on the other hand, Professors Farrukh Alvi, College of Engineering, and Steven Pfeiffer, College of Education, collaborated in developing a pilot summer residential academy for gifted high school students interested in engineering. The week-long residential summer academy for Florida’s brightest high school students focused on an engineering and mathematics curriculum and was held on the campus of FSU July 11-16.
Twenty academically gifted high school students were selected from over 200 applicants across the state. Students engaged in exciting laboratory activities, scientific experiments and inquiry based learning incorporating high-level science and math curriculum. Classroom, lab and hands-on science experiments included:
- Fundamental Math and Science behind flight
- Computer modeling of cutting edge Smart Materials research
- Wind Tunnel model & RC aircraft testing
- Bio-inspired robot flight
- Gliding and flapping flight
- Construction of models of carbon nanotubes
The pilot summer academy is viewed as a first step by the FCAAP and the College of Education in developing a state-wide and even national program designed to create high interest in engineering (especially Mechanical & Aerospace related) and STEM fields among academically gifted middle school and high school students. One specific goal is to increase interest, particularly among females and students of color, in pursuing aerospace, engineering, mathematics, science and related careers.
Preliminary evaluation findings of the pilot summer academy have been very favorable. All of the participants felt intellectually challenged and motivated by the high-level curriculum and lab and hands-on science experiments. The participants also valued the opportunity to spend a week in an intellectually challenging learning environment with other equally bright and motivated students.