A new joint initiative between UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering and Central Okanagan Public Schools’ Kelowna Secondary School (KSS) is providing students in Grades 11 and 12 an opportunity to explore the many disciplines of engineering.
The program launched in January and finished the year online as a result of the pandemic. The course, Engineering 11 led by KSS teacher Jim Strachan, featured 15 UBC Engineering faculty and graduate students visiting the classroom or hosting KSS students to discuss topics in civil, mechanical, electrical and environmental engineering, such as construction materials, building structures, sustainable infrastructure, sensors and radars, Solidworks (computer-assisted design), fluids and thermodynamics, water quality and treatment, microbiome and healthy building, renewable energy systems, mechanical heart valves, engineering ethics, and more.
“We wanted to provide students with a platform to develop a fascination for discovery,” explains Claire Yan, Senior Instructor and Coordinator of the program. “Whether they end up pursuing a post-secondary engineering degree or not, understanding engineering concepts and disciplines provides a unique lens to see the world.”
Many of the students said they choose Engineering 11 to get a better sense of what engineering, science and math courses would be like in university. One student said, “I wanted to get beyond the superficial description of engineering we see online and learn about what engineers truly do.”
“The challenge with a course like this is fitting everything in within one term,” says Strachan. “The students left the course wanting even more so we are looking at ways to expand some topics and add new content in the years to come.”
“We are excited about continuing this initiative and welcoming KSS students into our labs and our faculty into their class in the coming years,” says Ahmad Rteil, Assistant Professor and one of the instructors of the program.
In the program’s exit survey, nearly 96% of the students said they plan on studying engineering at a post-secondary institution.