High schoolers explore engineering in South Jersey program

Does concrete float? Depends how you make it.

25 high school students from New Jersey and Pennsylvania jumped right into a civil engineering class, where their objective was to build a concrete canoe that they would later race.

It's all part of Rowan University's Introduction for Students to Engineering or RISE for short. The program takes place over three days in Glassboro.

Melanie Basantis, Rowan's Director of Engineering Outreach, explained, "We want to increase their confidence, in addition to increasing their interest in engineering, making it an exciting, dynamic program."

They take a hands on approach. Students are able to get into labs and explore different branches of engineering, even if they already show an interest in a particular one.

Tessa Kierland of Mullica Hill said, "Well I'm interested in like the biomedical engineering. It also shows you the other options, and it shows you like, what they have to offer."

Joey Kenney of Sicklerville will be a freshman at Rowan and took part of the RISE program himself. He advised the participants to keep an open mind.

"When I was in the program, I wanted to do electrical engineering. I was really set on that, but I kind of kept an open mind going through the program, and I looked into a lot of other things, and I realized I was more interested in mechanical than I was electrical," Kenney said.

For some of these high school students, getting inside college classrooms and seeing what equipment and resources are available is part of the fun.

Zoe Miloszewski of Mullica Hill pointed out, "Definitely there's more higher level equipment here, like we're not using big, machine things at the high school classes so this is more advanced."

Basantis told 6abc, "We give them an idea of what our freshman engineering students do here at the College of Engineering- hands-on projects."

According to Basantis the programs main goal is to help students determine their path for the future, in college and beyond.
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