National Science Foundation grant provides teaching license to engineering students

Anna Fagre

Engineering students at Colorado State University can now obtain a teaching license to help younger students “connect the STEM dots.”

Faculty at CSU have been working to address a lack of educators showing young people the vast array of careers within the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.

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Engineering and teacher licensure student John Avery teaches a solar oven design activity which he modified to emphasize mathematical energy gain calculations. (Photo courtesy of Dr. De Miranda).
Engineering and teacher licensure student John Avery teaches a solar oven design activity which he modified to emphasize mathematical energy gain calculations. (Photo courtesy of Dr. De Miranda.)

One way to solve this problem is by expanding the pathways toward becoming a STEM teacher. Education Engineering professor Dr. Michael De Miranda and associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Dr. Thomas Siller recently received a $593,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to do just that.

The developing program at hand will provide engineering students the option to obtain a teaching license allowing them to teach engineering, technology and math to middle and high school students.

De Miranda deems this a value-laden option, providing passionate engineers flexibility throughout their career. At the end of the day, the student is still an engineer with an arsenal of tools and skills at their disposal to utilize in a number of ways.

Engineering students are in a unique position among other majors, as the design process that occurs is complex, multifactorial and comprised of multiple disciplines, De Miranda said. 

They are well-suited to integrate mathematics, science concepts and physics concepts. They are also well-suited to integrate these concepts into the man-made world, making seemingly obscure and abstract equations relevant to young people gaining a grasp on the scope of the STEM world. 

This license option is a viable choice for current freshman and sophomore students to integrate these classes with their degree program once they are established engineering majors.

Engineering with a teaching license at CSU will encompass five majors: chemical and biological engineering, civil and environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering, engineering science and mechanical engineering.

Students in any of these majors are eligible to participate in the teaching licensure option, which generally only adds on half a semester at the end of senior year during which the hands-on student-teaching experience occurs. It is during this time that engineers are able to put to use their knowledge of STEM concepts acquired throughout their education at CSU, and expose young people to this rapidly growing and diverse field.

Students interested in pursuing this teaching license can learn more by contacting Laurie Craig, advisor to engineering education concentration students at Laurie.Craig@colostate.edu, Dr. De Miranda at Michael.Anthony.De_Miranda@colostate.edu or Dr. Siller at Thomas.Siller@colostate.edu

Collegian Science Reporter Anna Fagre can be reached online at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Annaclairef.

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