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Tuned In and Turned on to Technology

We often hear that America is not doing enough to inspire and prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers. This complaint has been around long enough for a certain amount of resignation to set in. Bright students just have to put up with being bored in high school and hope it gets better in college. But a growing number of specialized schools have emerged, schools that put a real focus on creative education in math, science, and technology. This month's cover story, "High School Goes High Tech," takes a look at schools that focus on students gifted in science and math. Do such schools work? What sort of graduates do they produce? At some of these schools, students complete academic internships and their experiences in the business world are integrated into their course work. Students learn through group projects and are encouraged to manage their own educations.

Although specialized schools can create an exciting environment for students, some people have concerns. The main criticisms are they are too exclusive and they rob the broader school system of both funding and potential student leaders. Nevertheless, specialized schools appear to be a growing trend.

Information security, whether in the form of protecting government agencies against terrorism or providing private corporations with the tools to prevent costly attacks, has become a major worry. “The Power of One,” looks at engineering schools that are addressing this issue by providing the needed research and programs to combat the threat of computer crime. Although there are differences of opinion on how to teach information security, everyone—government, private industry and academia—believes in its importance.

Last year, Bill Hammack won ASEE's President’s Award. This award goes to individuals or organizations that publicize engineering as a career and promote engineering through media outlets. Hammack was honored for his weekly commentary "Engineering & Life," which airs on Illinois Public Radio. "The Voice of Engineering,” is about Hammack’s efforts to make engineering accessible to the public. Using everyday objects from vacuum cleaners to fast-drying underwear to explain how science and technology affects society, Hammack reaches a weekly audience of about 120,000.

This month's Prism also contains ASEE's annual report. The news is good, and members will want to peruse this report, a yearly roundup of ASEE activities and a snapshot of fiscal year 2003.

I look forward to hearing your comments and thoughts.

Frank L. Huband
Executive Director and Publisher
f.huband@asee.org

 

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