Miami holds first Summer Scholars for MME Department

Starting this year, the MME department held its first session of the Summer Scholars Program, a program for high achieving high school students to gain experience within the field of college and research.

Dr. Amit Shukla, being the chair of the department, was heavily involved in making sure the program ran smoothly. 2022 will make Dr. Shuklas 19th year at Miami, so this being the first MME session is an important milestone.

Shukla wasn’t the only person involved- almost half of the department's faculty had some participation in the program.

The program takes place over the course of 12 days, with new activities each day, with both academic and extracurricular components.

One such component was centered around the Engineering Grand Challenge, which was developed by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in order to create more humanitarian and problem solving engineers.

This challenge was incorporated into the program as a module in which students were put into groups and asked to design a prototype. They were asked to imagine a canister that could be used to collect samples from deep within the ocean.

This was not only an academic challenge, but a creative one, for they were asked to imagine the unknown. In order to truly open the minds of these students, the faculty focused less on the math and chemistry aspects of the challenge, and instead encouraged creativity and problem solving.summer scholar in classroom 2021

One of the rewarding factors of the session was seeing how many unique ideas the students could create. Amit got to see them collaborating and bettering their designs through teamwork and criticism.

“The students were an amazing, energetic band, who made it really exciting for us,” Dr. Shukla said, of watching these students' imaginations come to fruition.

These students were able to take part in the process that companies spend billions of dollars on, in just less than two weeks. The amount of work they were able to produce speaks volumes about their perseverance, imagination, and team communication.

The teams also got to look at more everyday, relatable situations, such as engineering phone cases, working with virtual reality, and even testing wear rates by eating lollipops.

This well rounded experience really gives students the opportunity to see how many possibilities they could have as an engineer. Students involved were also able to see that being an engineer is possible for everyone.

They were given the opportunity to discuss how important it is for diversity to be present within the engineering world. To encourage such discussion, this session of the program made sure to include 12 female students and 6 male students.

Amit says that overall his favorite part of the program was getting to connect with the students. “By the end of the program, I was invited to a karaoke session with students,” he said.

Dr. Shukla also remarked, “I learned that the students had the excitement and the energy to really attack a very challenging problem. If we can keep that excitement and the energy throughout the curriculum in all four years, we will see so many amazing things when they graduate.”

Written by Kayleigh Schauseil, CEC Reporter