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.
I wanted to become an Engineering Ambassador so that I could teach the younger generations the potential in STEM. Through Engineering Ambassadors, I am now capable of presenting concepts and ideas in a much more engaging manner.
I saw Engineering Ambassadors as an opportunity to pay it forward and both inspire kids as my robotics mentors inspired me and share my passion for STEM.
I hope to share the power of STEM with as many students as I can in the hopes to inspire their minds early on and get them thinking about the problems in the world that they could solve as an engineer.
I wanted to be able to teach children about engineering and make a positive impact on their lives. I felt that I would be able to change the conversation and have children understand the importance of engineering and the impact it has on people's lives.
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.
Required Trainings and Meetings
Applications for the 2019-2020 academic year are now closed. 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.