Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sikorsky STEM Challenge - real world engineering for high school students


I was an engineer for 10 years before deciding to become an educator and work to help other students become engineers and scientists. I was an Aerospace engineer and worked for companies like Pratt & Whitney and Sikorsky Aircraft.

Sikorsky Aircraft, a leader in helicopters around the world, is headquartered in Stratford, CT, where I live, and has a huge office and plant in Bridgeport, CT where I teach. Their helicopters, like the Blackhawk and S-76, can be seen flying overhead all the time. I loved running out side to watch them when I was a kid.

Sikorsky has always had a great relationship with the surrounding community and works with schools on many different projects. I'm very pleased to be part of the Sikorsky STEM Challenge, a program started last year, that has students working on a real world engineering project, from start to finish, including management, organization, team work, design, research, engineering calculations and more.

10-15-11 CC logo.JPG

The program is being run in partnership with CT Innovations, Sikorsky and CT Corsair.
The challenge provides high schools students with the opportunity to apply the lessons of the classroom to the technical problems that are being faced in the workplace.
A team of Sikorsky Innovations engineers working with Connecticut Corsair have designed a challenge for a group of selected local high schools in Connecticut. The students and teachers/coaches will have an opportunity to meet the engineers who have designed the challenge and work closely with them in developing their possible solutions.

CT Corsair is working to bring an F4U-4 Corsair fighter back to flying condition. The Corsair is the official State of CT aircraft and was built here (and the engines were built in CT by Pratt & Whitney). It was used extensively in World War II and the Korean War. Students are working on real projects to make that happen. Last year, the three schools involved designed a new engine mount for the aircraft. This year's projects are still being set up. There are 14 schools participating this year. 

The program starts with kickoff event in September at a local airport where CT Corsair has it's facility. There is no cost to the schools at all and the program provides transportation to events, Sikorsky Engineers as mentors, materials and resources, such as SolidWorks CAD software.

The program has a resource, iHUB, that will be used for communications, posting of resources, posting student work, and more. It's similar to Edmodo in many ways, but bigger and used by corporations. 

I will be blogging about my experience, and my students' experiences, in this program. It's a great example of industry and education working together to support our students.


STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Resources for Education

Sikorsky STEM Challenge


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