WPI Engineering Ambassadors’ program, sponsored by United Technologies Corporation (UTC) and Ensign Bickford Industries, engages middle and high school students in the exciting opportunities present in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field. They work together as a team to challenge conventional ideas and promote opportunities available to future generations in the engineering field.
Engineering Ambassadors engage the younger generation through middle school tours, off-campus visits to schools and organizations, and on-campus events to engage others in the excitement of engineering. Ambassadors learn to effectively communicate technical information to a wide variety of audiences, providing valuable skills in the professional field.
During the program, Ambassadors develop leadership, presentation, and project management skills for their own educational and professional development. In addition, Ambassadors receive a $1,000 stipend for their involvement and also qualify for the opportunity for a potential summer internship, plus a possible job in the future, with UTC, Ensign Bickford Industries, and other sponsoring companies.
WPI was one of the four founding schools of Engineering Ambassadors, developed in 2011 to address the challenges today’s organizations face to recruit diverse, top-notch STEM engineering talent. The WPI program has grown from an original eight Ambassadors to over 40 today. WPI is exploring ways to expand the program beyond engineering to incorporate all STEM fields.
Being an Engineering Ambassador means having the privilege to educate students about the amazing things that engineers do. I know that through the Engineering Ambassadors program we are helping the next generation of great problem solvers.
I have been a student at many engineering programs similar to EA. Learning about engineering from older students who were passionate about it was a great experience that I wanted to pass on to others.
Engineering Ambassadors has helped me become confident in my abilities to speak in front of a crowd and has helped me realize the importance of communication skills in the world of engineering. Through this organization I was also able to take part in my first internship where I learned more about myself than I ever could have imagined. I was also able to gain a mentor from UTC that has supported me since my first day at work and has continued to be a valuable source of advice and strength throughout the school year.
As an Engineering Ambassador, I have learned how one person, one presentation, one activity, can make a difference in a child's outlook on STEM. I have been able to share my passions in engineering with many different students, and I hope that through this I have been able to show them that anyone can be a part of this field if they really want to.
Ambassadors give presentations and use hands-on activities to communicate how engineering and the STEM field is not just about strong math and science skills, but about creativity. It serves as a real eye-opener to children to learn how engineering impacts everything. A particular example involves younger kids making parachutes as part of an air-resistance demonstration.
Engineering Ambassadors meet weekly and engage in several trainings to enhance their communications and leadership skills. The first training takes place in the fall with the three partner universities: Penn State, Rensselaer, and the University of Connecticut. Trainings continue throughout the school year, incorporating tenets such as assertion-evidence slide theory, plus story structure and mapping techniques.
Most ambassadors have summer internships with sponsoring companies. Depending on the guidelines of sponsors, Ambassadors can participate in full- or part-time internship opportunities and/or co-ops during various times of the year. There are three levels of sponsorships companies can choose from for the program, and sponsors can determine guidelines to sponsor students, including major type, minimum GPAs, and more. Interested businesses or organizations can click here to learn more about the benefits of sponsoring an Ambassador program.
As the primary sponsoring company, United Technologies Corporation offers academic stipends and summer internships for many of WPI's Ambassadors. Fees that sponsors pay go towards providing students with stipends, materials for presentations to young children, and speakers to develop the skills of Engineering Ambassadors. WPI fully funds the program manager responsible for overseeing the program.
These quotes are from students who attended a Middle School tour at WPI conducted by Engineering Ambassadors.
Students must be a first-year or sophomore student committed to outreach with desire to to share and educate the STEM field to children. WPI looks for students that can grow and improve public speaking and leadership skills. The time commitment is comparable to that of a job or extracurricular activity. Students will be required to attend trainings and meetings, a list of which is below.
Applications for the 2018-2019 academic year are available here through March 5th until midnight. Contact Jenna-Noel Grinshteyn, Program Manager, by email or at 508-831-4900 with any questions.
A national Engineering Ambassador Network website links programs nationwide and can help participants with networking and job opportunities. If there are several WPI Engineering Ambassadors working at a particular company, current students can feel confident they will be strongly considered for a position at that company in the future.