Each spring, the Engineering Research Accelerator hosts Moving 4th Into Engineering, an engineering outreach event. Approximately 30 fourth-grade students from various Pittsburgh area schools are invited to visit Carnegie Mellon's campus and participate in a full day of engineering activities. This program provides the students with an interactive introduction to the exciting world of engineering and exposes them to fun and educational, hands-on activities geared toward their age and ability level. Through various experiments and exercises, students learn how engineering plays a part in many of the ordinary things they see every day.
Moving 4th Into Engineering is made possible by the collaborative efforts of the College of Engineering, Engineering Research Accelerator, the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Chemical Engineering, the Center for University Outreach, and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance (PITA). A diverse group of Accelerator faculty, staff, and student volunteers lead the program and work with the children throughout the day.
Moving 4th aims to inspire young students to seek out future studies in math, science, and engineering. This early exposure to the world of engineering aims to excite young students about science and math and to make them more likely to pursue technical courses throughout their education. Many times, this program serves as an introduction to these concepts and enlightens children who may not have otherwise sought out such educational opportunities. It is important that the university shares its educational resources with the local community, to support and foster the education of young students who may otherwise see the institution as a place that only serves economically advantaged populations.
To carry out this program, Accelerator staff continues to strengthen relationships with Pittsburgh Public Schools, inviting educators to choose students who may participate. Programs like this are visibly enriching to the education of young students, and are extremely well received by students, educators, and parents. This is evident by the phone calls and thank you messages that we receive in the weeks following the program.
Outreach indirectly supports the Accelerator and PITA goals by fostering young students at an early age, which in the long run, enhances the education and economic future of our region.