DENVER (CBS4) – How do you inspire kids to get interested in engineering, science and math? Find great mentors. CBS4’s Gloria Neal found that Denver Public Schools has a program that does just that.
“At third grade their mind is like a soccer ball — the more you pump it the bigger it gets,” a mentor said.
Pumping the minds of third, fourth and fifth graders full of science, technology, engineering and math is the goal.
The students in the Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) program represent 60 Denver Public Schools chosen to participate. This is 9-year-old Mikaela Tawedrose’s first year in SEEK.
“I want to be an engineer or a teacher or a teacher that teaches engineering,” Tawedrose said. “When I was little I really liked engineering and lots of people have been telling me about engineering.”
The National Society Of Black Engineers (NSBE) developed SEEK as a way to address the lack of African-American students in science, technology, engineering and math.
“A lot of the kids in these neighborhoods, particularly where we’re teaching right now, believe that they can’t go to college or they can’t study engineering,” Henrietta Kasaini with NSBE said. “But when they see a mentor who looks just like them, comes from where they come from, they’re inspired to pursue the same kind of path.”
It’s especially true for girls. Kasaini is a chemical engineering major and a SEEK mentor.
“SEEK is the best way to reach out to our children from a young age and basically develop them through the NSBE pipeline,” Kasaini said.
They do it by showing children science and engineering are everywhere, including what makes a glider glide, exploring the relationship between force and motion, weight and lift.
“The United States graduates 1/10th of what graduates as for as engineers and technical professionals compared to China and India,” said Strauder Patton, CH2M Hill Project Engineer. “For us to be the energy leader, the manufacturing leader, like we are again, we’re going to need more technical professionals, and we want to build it right here right in the United States.”
CH2M Hill is a major sponsor of the SEEK program. They recognize the need to grow our own.
This was the first year SEEK came to Denver. The program concludes this Friday.