Day of discovery

High school, junior high minorities attend engineering outreach program

by Sally Claunch
The Shorthorn staff

Kendall Harris, aerospace engineering associate professor, said he enjoyed sharing the science of engineering with Metroplex minority youths Saturday.

"When I get responses like, 'All I ever wanted to be was a sports star, but now I know I can do other things,' it's really great," he said.

About 500 minority high school and middle school students came to the university to participate in the Day of Engineering, sponsored by the Dallas Alliance for Minority Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the university's chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers.

Students had a chance to tour university facilities, talk to representatives from area technological companies and compete in an engineering contest.

NSBE President Troy Hardy said the event was part of the organization's Pre-College Initiative Program, which is an outreach program designed to get high school and middle school students interested in math, science and engineering.

"This is a chance to give them a taste and a hands-on experience with lab tours and get them to take a look at UTA as a possible college choice," he said.

NSBE Treasurer Akin Akinboro said the companies that participated, such as Motorola Inc., were really interested in the students and showed them opportunities that were available in engineering.

"It's nice to see people interested in minority engineers," he said. "All the kids look forward to in college is football or basketball - now they can look forward to academics, too."

Computer science sophomore Byron Busby, who is the pre-college initiative chair, said the children were able to see the difference between high school and college from a minority's standpoint.

"The fields are limited as far as having a lot of minority engineers involved," he said. "We want to show them that it's possible to go into it themselves."

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