FIU brings STEM education to Miami-Dade County Public Schools with “Engineers on Wheels”

Florida International University’s (FIU) College of Engineering and Computing will begin rolling engineering education into South Florida’s public school classrooms this fall with the launch of “Engineers on Wheels,” an innovative, hands-on STEM education initiative sponsored by Chrysler Group LLC and The Chrysler Foundation, the automotive company’s charitable arm.

Working closely with FIU’s Education Effect – a university community school partnership that launched its second site at Booker T. Washington Senior High School this year – the Engineers on Wheels van will visit South Florida classrooms this fall, providing hands-on activities and engineering experiments led by FIU students and overseen by FIU faculty.

“We are delighted that FIU is bringing its Engineers on Wheels program to Miami-Dade County Public Schools,’’ said Cristian Carranza, an administrative director with the district who oversees science, math, career and technical education. “This will give our students the kinds of high-tech, hands-on education they need to prepare for future success in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects and careers.”

As part of the Chrysler Group’s broader strategy to recruit and retain talent, especially those in the field of engineering, the Company has worked closely with FIU to recruit more than 20 students over the past three years. The Engineers on Wheels program will help maintain the pipeline of college-bound students interested in pursuing fields of study related to the automotive industry.

“Inspiring young, bright people to pursue an education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math is essential to Chrysler Group’s ability to compete and succeed,” said Georgette Borrego Dulworth, Director of Talent Acquisition and Diversity, Chrysler Group LLC.

“We are pleased to support FIU’s initiative to deliver STEM education to K-12 students by putting great minds in science and engineering on wheels,” Dulworth added. Chrysler Group donated a new 2014 Ram ProMaster van, while its charitable arm, The Chrysler Foundation donated $15,000 to help FIU establish the Engineers on Wheels program.

Engineers on Wheels builds on the success of the college’s annual Engineering Expo, which brings more than 1,400 K-12 students from Miami-Dade and Broward County schools to FIU to learn firsthand from students, researchers and staff and to discover the possibilities in STEM fields.

“Since its inception 13 years ago, we have seen a surge in the number of K-12 students and schools that attend our annual Engineering Expo,” said Amir Mirmiran, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. “Engineers on Wheels gives us the opportunity to take our lab experiments and instruments to the schools and impact a larger audience – show them what engineers do and what it takes to become an engineer.”

“It is also a learning opportunity for our undergraduate engineering students on how to communicate their passion to those in the pipeline,” Mirmiran added.
The Engineers on Wheels program aligns with FIU’s goal of developing programs to increase the number of well-prepared STEM professionals and national calls for an additional 1 million STEM professionals over the next 10 years.

Subjects covered by the program will include mechanical and materials engineering, computer science and information technology, biomedical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, construction and engineering management and electrical and computer engineering.

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About the FIU College of Engineering and Computing:
Florida International University’s College of Engineering and Computing is South Florida’s leading engineering education resource. The College offers a complete range of fully accredited engineering baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in biomedical, civil and environmental, electrical and computer, and mechanical and materials engineering; construction management; and computing and information sciences. With close to $20 million of external funding, research is an integral part of the College’s mission and its success. The College is committed to diversity, and is the largest producer of Hispanic engineers, and one of the top producers of African-American engineers and females with doctoral degrees in engineering. For more information about the FIU College of Engineering and Computing, visit http://www.cec.fiu.edu

About FIU:
Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. Its colleges and schools offer more than 180 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida’s anchor institutions, FIU is Worlds Ahead in its local and global engagement, finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission. FIU has awarded 200,000 degrees and enrolls more than 50,000 students in two campuses and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. FIU is a member of Conference USAand has 400 student-athletes participating in 18 sports. For more information about FIU, visit http://www.fiu.edu/.

About The Chrysler Foundation
The Chrysler Foundation, the charitable arm of Chrysler Group LLC, has established a proud legacy of empowering people and investing in local communities. The Chrysler Foundation focuses its support on four key areas: Education: K-12 and post-secondary education initiatives that encourage the study and pursuit of careers in business, design, science, technology, engineering, mathematics or supply-chain management; Military: support for the nation’s service members and their families in need; Multicultural / Diversity: initiatives that promote inclusion and advancement opportunities for diverse populations; and Youth Development: organizations and programs that provide mentoring and related assistance to aid youth in the transition to adulthood.

Since its inception in 1953, The Chrysler Foundation has awarded more than $500 million in charitable grants.