• July 11, 2020

UTPB announces summer engineering program - Odessa American: Education

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UTPB announces summer engineering program

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Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2019 4:00 pm

Taking engines and robots apart and putting them back together could be in some middle and high school student’s immediate future through a partnership between XTO Energy and the University of Texas Permian Basin.

Announced Thursday in the Mesa Building at UTPB, the effort involves XTO and the College of Engineering, headed by dean George Nnanna.

The sixth through eighth-grade camp will run June 10 through June 14 and the camp for ninth through 11th-graders will go from June 17 through June 21. Both will be at the CEED Building.

Nnanna said he thinks the capacity will be 40 to 50 students per camp and students will be taken from around the Permian Basin.

There are selection criteria such as teacher recommendations and having a certain GPA, Nnanna said. Registration forms are available on the College of Engineering website.

Courtney Wardlaw, XTO public and government affairs advisor, said it’s hoped that the program will develop the next generation of engineers to live, work and raise their families in the Permian Basin.

Nnanna said he previously ran a summer engineering camp at Purdue University Northwest in Hammond, Ind., where he was head of the mechanical and civil engineering departments. He also led the Purdue Water Institute.

Nnanna said the objective is to provide students with a chance to experience engineering before they even go to college.

“What we’re trying to do is to engage the sixth to eighth grade students, as well as ninth to 11th grade (students) to expose them to various aspects of engineering. We believe that if you don't catch the students at the sixth grade level, you lose them,” Nnanna said.

“What we are trying to do is provide an experiential learning component during the summer to expose them to various aspects of engineering ranging from aerospace to chemical engineering, electrical, petroleum and mechanical. The way we are going to approach it is by them performing hands-on projects,” he added.

This will include activities such as disassembling a V8 engine, taking a robot apart and putting it back together and using the petroleum extension facility on campus, Nnanna said.

For the program, Wardlaw presented UTPB President Sandra Woodley with an oversized check for $35,000.

“We are deeply are grateful for the support from XTO and our partners to make this summer engineering camp a success. It’s important to this university to make sure that we go out and groom the next generation of leaders in the Permian Basin …,” Woodley said.

Luis Trueba, associate professor of mechanical engineering, will be running the camp.

“I think it's a really exciting opportunity for students in the area, and even though we haven't had the formal rollout until now, we've had a really positive response from the community, so I think this is going to be a really great opportunity for students in the Permian Basin,” Trueba said.

He added that it would be wonderful if some of those students continue their education at UTPB, particularly in the engineering department.

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