Fostering Interest in Information Technology
Eighty high school students, 8 K-12 STEM teachers, and university students in Southeastern Michigan engage in design teams focused on IT-intensive STEM areas including environmental science, robotics, and bioinformatics, using diverse software systems.
Fostering Interest in Information Technology or FI3T is designed to engage underrepresented high school students in a Community of Designers by creating project-based design teams. The project is supported by the University of Michigan-Dearborn College of Engineering and Computer Science, the College of Arts and Sciences and Letters, and the School of Education. Partners include the Detroit Public Schools, the US Army's Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), Ford Motor Company, Dassault Systèmes'/DELMIA Corporation, FANUC Robotics Inc., Barbara Ann KARMANOS Cancer Institute, and the 21st Century Digital Learning Environments. Four design teams will be created to address topics in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics. Each team includes 10 high school students, 1 teacher, 1 undergraduate student, 1 graduate student, and 1 STEM content expert. Participants learn about environmental science, web-based applications (games, databases), robotics, and bioinformatics while gaining experience using GIS, GPS, Vpython, Visual Studio, IGRIP, and Minitab software systems. Students are introduced to STEM concepts in a series of workshops and seminar meetings during the school year and summer. Year 2 focuses on the design process, followed by summer externships at TARDEC and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Additional seminars and a Techno/Career Fair complete the two-year experience. A second cohort of participants will follow the same schedule beginning in Year 2. Alumni receive ongoing support with course selection and the college application process. Teachers also participate in an intensive summer course that addresses IT and STEM content prior to the student experience. This project will reach 80 students in southeastern Michigan.