Miami begins CEC Outreach program

Girls Who Code helping high school students code on computersMiami has some student groups who are doing work in Outreach, but starting this year, the CEC (College of Engineering and Computing) is working to expand upon what these students have done thus far. 

Joanna Hohn spoke about the excitement she has to bring the possibilities of STEM to underrepresented students. 

Starting with a focus mainly upon middle and high school aged students, the program will work into working with all pre-college levels.

Through partnerships with places like the Cincinnati Museum Center as well as many hopeful future partnerships, Hohn is taking the program on the road to visit more school districts, both private and public. There will also be competitions hosted at Miami to bring students in. One such competition is FIRST Tech. 

The FIRST Tech Challenge will be held on January 15, 2022. It is a robotics competition for middle and high school students in which they will build an 18 by 18 inch robot and program it to drive and do a variety of tasks for points.  Miami will sponsor three teams to compete.

There will be many opportunities for students to be introduced to STEM between going to the schools and inviting them to Miami, with hope that they can schedule field trips to see the campus and the facilities and gain hands-on experiences. In the future Hohn hopes to have summer programs in which students can stay for a week or so at a time. 

Another scheduled event is Big Brothers Big Sisters day on Saturday, September 25, 2021. Those involved in the event will be ‘matched’ with a middle/high school student to spend the day with them and explore the college and do hands-on activities. 

The Outreach program also recently had the McGuffey Montessori school come for a field trip, which can be read about in the article, "McGuffey Montessori High school students visit CPB lab at Miami"

The goal is that by talking to the students about what engineers and computer scientists are and what they can do, they will gain an interest they might not have had before. They will be shown how those fields can help solve real world problems even within their own community. 

Getting the students excited about the real world applications of these fields may have the most impact. With the popularity of topics such as space exploration and flight, it is more possible to inspire the next generation to want to be involved and solve problems in the world of engineering and computer science. 

For Joanna, the most difficult part of the program is funding it. Through hard work, she is making as many connections as possible, hoping to find people who are excited about STEM and want to contribute to its growth. This is especially important when thinking about making the program available to low income students for little to no cost. 

One way that Joanna plans to secure some funding is through Make It Miami, which is run during the fall semester and is a great way for those interested to make donations. Through a combination of donations and grants, Hohn hopes to give these students the best STEM experience possible. 

Hohn also wants to ensure that people are aware of the program, and all of the ample opportunities to tour and visit the facilities. She wants the program to give back to the community as much as possible. 

Anyone interested in volunteering or reaching out to Joanna about the program can find her

Written by Kayleigh Schauseil, CEC Reporter