The Engineering Ambassador program was started at Oregon Tech in 2011 as an effort to create opportunities for outreach by college engineering students from the different departments in the community. There are really no limits to the kinds of events where the ambassadors can have an impact on kids of all ages as well as with adults, including teachers, administrators and industry representatives.
The ambassador program is broadly overseen by the Dean of the School of Engineering, Technology and Management (ETM) Charlie Jones. The current faculty manager of the program is Dr. David Culler from the Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering and Technology (MMET) program. There are currently 13 students taking part in the program from 5 engineering departments (Mechanical, Electrical, Renewable, Manufacturing, Civil and Computer Software). The last 6 months have been an exciting time for the ambassadors in terms of growth, participation, infrastructure development and the events where students have been making a difference in the lives of kids. As "near peers" to the kids they are talking to, it creates a very different environment and experience for the kids than when faculty members or adults only are involved. The ambassadors now find themselves in high demand for K-12 school visits, expos, fairs, after-school programs and on-campus tours for visitors of all ages. By making visits fun and interactive for the participants, engineering is presented in a much different light than just the typical math, science and technology to help kids see that there are many interesting types of engineering and that with their skills and interests, they too should consider it as a great career option.
In particular, the ambassadors like to pay special attention to diversity and reaching out to under-represented kids that are needed for the next generation of engineering jobs. Women, minorities, kids from rural areas and financially distressed communities are a particular focus area of the efforts made by this group. By exploring the areas of this website and the links provided, users can learn more about engineering, meet the current group of ambassadors at Oregon Tech and learn how to contact us so that we can come out and visit your kids too!
We are currently busy preparing for the upcoming school-year and are very excited about the upcoming meetings with other ambassadors around the state as well as our efforts to join the national network of engineering ambassadors who are funded by an National Science Foundation grant and are planning a workshop here in Oregon. Oregon Tech students are currently busy developing this web site, making brochures and tee-shirts for promoting our activities and planning the 1st meeting with ambassador groups from Oregon State University and Portland State University scheduled for September 13th in Portland. It's going to be an exciting year!