Rowan engineers get new wheels

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Engineers on Wheels is now more mobile than ever. The Rowan University educational outreach organization received $25,000 in funding from Lockheed Martin to purchase a new van.
Engineers on Wheels is now more mobile than ever. The Rowan University educational outreach organization received $25,000 in funding from Lockheed Martin to purchase a new van.

The van is an additional resource for the program, which began bringing interactive engineering education to South Jersey schools less than two years ago, when it made its first visit to Glassboro Intermediate School in February 2010.

Rowan’s Colleges of Engineering, Education and Graduate and Continuing Education partnered with sponsors Edison Venture Fund and John Martinson to create the program, which is the brainchild of professor of civil and environmental engineering Dr. Kauser Jahan.

Rowan engineering students develop the materials for the projects — the activities, handouts and lesson plans. The goal of the program is to get K-12 students interested in engineering at an early age and keep them interested. Through the projects they work on with Engineers on Wheels, students in area schools learn not only what engineering is but also how it can be fun and creative.

The new van is more than just an extra means of transportation. Students and professors from the College of Engineering use their colorful, specially outfitted vans to provide students with that interactive experience. The vans feature touch-screen computers that allow students to engage in virtual engineering projects, like designing bridges and roller coasters. They also carry engineering exploration kits, which contain equipment for a variety of different projects in diverse fields of engineering. For example, a class studying chemical engineering may make paper or lip gloss or choose from other chemical engineering projects. Other engineering exploration kits contain equipment for studying flight and aerospace, solar energy and mechanical and civil engineering.

“The new van is an addition to the first one to help us make more visits to the schools,” said Jahan, stressing that the additional van will enhance the program, but that “overall, the implementation of the program is the same.”

The Engineers on Wheels team plans to visit Chestnut Ridge Middle School on Nov 17, 2011, and is scheduling more visits to schools in Washington Township, Williamstown and Glassboro this semester. After that, who knows?

“There are new activities planned all the time,” Jahan said.

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