The University of Florida’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering is committed to supporting outreach and services in STEM education for K-12 students throughout the state of Florida. STEM education is widely accepted as the cornerstone in creating an innovative economy.
Through the Gator Outreach Initiative, young minds are exposed to the world of engineering through on-site campus visits, school visits, apprenticeships and diverse experiential learning activities that inspire a deeper curiosity and interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Since its start, the program has brought more than 15,000 students to the UF campus.
Recently, on “Girls Engaged in Gator Engineering Day,” a group of 34 girls from Howard Middle School traveled from Orlando to UF’s main campus in Gainesville to experience a day in the life of a Gator Engineer. This emersion experience was sponsored by Exxon Mobil, a longtime supporter of UF and STEM education, and a founding partner of the Gator Outreach Initiative.
The young minds focused on the production of sustainable energy and developed project ideas that would protect the environment. They learned about the process of extracting and harnessing renewable energy from oil to decrease biomagnification, the concentration of toxins in organisms that are passed through the food chain.
In addition to hands-on activities and campus tours, the visiting students were also given a chance to engage with a panel of current UF undergraduates and Ph.D. candidates who shared their journey of what it’s like to pursue a path in engineering.
For more information on the Gator Outreach Initiative, visit https://www.eng.ufl.edu/students/students/star-office/outreach-programming/.