Engineering Ambassadors pairs local engineers and other STEM professionals with teachers and their students to bring engaging design challenges to middle and secondary classrooms in the greater Portland area. The program’s main goal is to help students meet and interact with area engineers, hear their stories and recognize STEM as an exciting, interesting and attainable career pathway. We want students to be able to say, “I know an engineer,” describe what engineers do and engage in an engineering activity.
How does the program work?
Middle and high school teachers in the greater Portland area are welcome to participate – it’s free, and we provide substitute reimbursement so that you may attend one of the themed preparation workshops. To participate, register for one the half-day workshops, which take place at a local STEM company.
What happens at the workshop?
During the first part of the workshop, teachers tour a local STEM company, meeting engineers and other STEM professionals along the way who offer insights as to the nature of the work they do, and more generally, identify the key knowledge, skills and work habits required. While on tour, teachers collect information including photos (as permitted) to create a STEM story that will be used later with their students.
During the second part of the workshop, teachers will partner with STEM professionals to solve an engineering design problem that will later be used with their students during the classroom visit. Teachers leave the workshop with a classroom set of the hands-on supplies needed to carry out the engineering activity, engineering teaching resources, including two video stories of Maine engineers, and a scheduled time for an engineer/STEM professional to visit their classroom. Visits are arranged between the teachers and STEM professional at a mutually convenient time.
What happens after the workshop?
During the classroom visits, “Engineering Ambassadors” co-facilitate the design challenges with classroom teachers and tell their stories, describing the pathways that led them into the field, learn about their interests and work.
What if I teach outside of the greater Portland area? Can I still connect to an Engineering Ambassador?
In an effort to connect more of Maine’s students to engineers, we’ve created short videos that showcase the work of engineers that live and work right here in Maine.
Ben Macri, Software Engineer, Kepware Technologies, Portland, ME
Misty Thompson, Industrial Engineer, Texas Instruments, South Portland, ME
Be sure to check out our Engineering Classroom Resources full of activities, lesson plans and background information on engineering.
The Engineering Ambassador’s program, co-developed by MMSA and IEEE (Institute or Electrical and Electronics Engineers), is an effort to make STEM work more visible and exciting to students at a time when they are making choices to study more advanced math and science, which readies them for success in STEM fields in college. To date, it has reached over 1500 students.