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Engineering, mineral resources program makes connections

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The Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University is wrapping up a year of connecting hands-on activities to elementary, middle and high school students.

As part of WVU's 2020 Strategic Plan, Cate Schlobohm works as an outreach coordinator to organize engineering student organizations on campus for visits to schools that showcase opportunities available in the engineering fields. Some of the outreach activities have included Girl Scouts Day, Merit Badge University and the pumpkin drop.

Visits have taken place throughout Monongalia County, but there are plans to expand throughout West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania.

"Our goal is to meet the teachers' needs," Schlobohm said. "Every school is different. Some schools have something in the curriculum they want us to relate to engineering.

"Others just want us to solidify what engineers do, because to young students, this is an ambiguous occupation."

The Statler Ambassadors design and build "projects in a box," so simple, reusable and transportable activities can be taken to the young students.

Statler College also sends representatives to several annual events, including The State Fair of West Virginia, 4-H camps and the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C. 

"Overall, we just want young students to learn that there are opportunities in engineering," said Schlobohm. "In a lot of the places we go, college isn't seen as a given."