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Dean Hanifin promotes engineering ‘on the road’

Dean Leo Hanifin created UDM’s “Engineering Road Show” to visit area high schools.

Many of today’s high school students are unfamiliar with the career opportunities available in engineering and other technical fields. To offset this situation, E&S Dean Leo Hanifin has created UDM’s “Engineering Road Show” to visit area high schools, beginning this fall.

Recognizing the multiple risks of having too few engineers in an increasingly technical world, Dean Hanifin sent inquiries to schools about making a presentation to students. The response was extremely positive. As of late October, Hanifin has taken the presentation to more than 600 students at schools from Monroe to Clarkston, with more than 100 students submitting cards of inquiry about UDM

According to Hanifin, “We are well on our way to our target of presenting at 40 schools (over 2,500 students) by early 2005. In fact, the response is so great that we are beginning to send others--chairpersons and program directors--to some high schools.”

The road-show presentation includes information about the need for engineers and the “excitement, satisfaction and reward for engineering careers,” plus a demonstration of a mobile robot that students designed and built.

“We also trained more than 20 ‘engineering ambassadors,’” explains Hanifin. “These are students who accompany me to provide a student perspective on engineering careers.”

As Hanifin’s letter to high school counselors cites, “If current trends continue, our nation and state will face dramatic shortages of engineers in coming years.” Reasons include declining engineering enrollments, aging of the current workforce and Asian universities graduating four times as many engineers as North American schools.

“There is nothing more important to our nation’s future than an adequate supply of engineers,” says Hanifin. “Without that, we will not be competitive in the world economy nor will we be secure in a very dangerous world.”