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Newport News Middle School Students to Take Part in Design Contest at ODU Engineering Open House

Middle schools in Newport News have taken seriously Gov. Bob McDonnell's push for more applied science education in the earlier grades.

The curriculum of the schools has been changed to incorporate more engineering design, starting in sixth grade.

As a culmination of this, a school district-wide design contest is being held in Peninsula middle schools, and the top 48 student designs will be entered in a final contest held at Old Dominion University next Saturday, Feb. 18.

The contest, which will be judged by school officials and members of local industry, is being held in conjunction with the Batten College of Engineering and Technology's Engineering Open House, a two-day event (Feb. 17-18) designed to expose middle and high school students to the Batten College and its offerings.

On Friday, Feb. 17, 340 students are registered for a tour of the college, where they will see demonstrations in 17 labs in Kaufman Hall. In addition to the design contest, Saturday is Womengineers Day, and will feature a keynote address by Kathy Bethany, a 1981 graduate from ODU's Batten College, who helps the federal government oversee building costs around the world as director of the Office of Cost Management in the Overseas Building Operations of the U.S. State Department.

Bev Forbes, director of experiential education programs with ODU's Career Management Center, and liaison to the Batten College, said the Engineering Open House provides real value to the prospective students, and to the university.

"When students have a chance to see the laboratories in action and participate in the contests, the field of engineering becomes more real to them," Forbes said. "Having a prominent female speaker for the Womengineering keynote address and luncheon allows all of our visitors to see the role of women in a career area that has been predominantly male.

"In addition to providing a valuable experience to prospective students and their families, Engineering Open House provides an effective recruiting tool. Some of our best students have shared that they remember coming to Engineering Open House as middle or high school students. I truly believe this two-day event provides a way for the college to market our programs in an engaging, interactive way."

For information about the Engineering Open House, visit http://www.eng.odu.edu/eng/openhouse/.

This article was posted on: February 13, 2012

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