College Hosts Prospective Students During Pre-Engineering Day


Toby Weber
Collegiate High School senior Harold Hale, Jr. participates in a superconductivity experiment by holding a metal rod close to an output terminal made of Tesla coil, sparking some 250, 000 volts of electricity. Photo by Jeff Shaw.

About 175 students from five area high schools visited the University of Houston last Friday to learn more engineering as a college major.

The event, dubbed Pre-Engineering Day, was held in conjunction with National Engineers Week and organized by the Office of Undergraduate Recruitment and Retention. According to Julie Trenor, director of the office and an assistant professor with UH’s Cullen College of Engineering, the day is dedicated to student outreach and recruitment.

“The goal of Engineers Week is to educate students about the field of engineering. We’re trying to educate them about what engineering is and what they could do as an engineer to help change the world for the better. We would also love for them to choose the Cullen College of Engineering when they get to college, so we spend some time showing them all the great things we have to offer undergraduate students here” said Trenor.

The attendees, Trenor stated, were selected by their teachers because of their aptitude for science or math, and their interest in exploring engineering as a college major. Several schools have pre-engineering programs for students in the 10th through 12th grades.

For these students, the day consisted of several sessions related to choosing engineering as a college major, including sessions on what the Cullen College of Engineering offers, the importance of conducting internships while studying engineering, campus tours, and a panel discussion with current engineering undergraduate students.

The event’s most popular features were interactive engineering demonstrations hosted by professors Gangbing Song, David Jackson and Charles Rooks, who gave demonstrations on smart materials, superconductivity and chemical engineering, respectively.

Though this is only the second time the college has hosted Pre-Engineering Day, the event is already gaining momentum, said Trenor. “Interest in the event has really grown as I’ve developed relationships with local high school teachers and counselors. We had about 60 participants last year and this year we had nearly three times as many students attend.”