Ramona Convent partners with National Science Foundation, University of Texas at Austin

How does an engineer think, design, and solve problems? Ramona students taking Aulikki Flagan’s Engineer Your World course will find out by solving open-ended problems such as designing and building a pinhole camera for handicapped people, an earthquake-safe building for India, and a drone that can capture images from earth.

Through a partnership with the National Science Foundation, the University of Texas, Austin, Cockrell School of Engineering and the College of Education at the University of Texas, Ramona students will complete a comprehensive year long engineering curriculum.

In this innovative class, students will be challenged to develop the design skills and habits of mind that are central to understanding what makes engineering different from other scientific and technical fields. They will learn how to translate a problem or need into design specifications and then to conceive and sort through alternate approaches to solving a problem or meeting that need.

According to Ms. Flagan, “I am excited to train the next generation of engineers and to prepare them for a future where anything is possible. This new course will give Ramona girls the skills they need to succeed in a male-dominated field and show them that they can change the world around them for the better. Open-ended real world problems will challenge their creativity and stimulate their ingenuity, since there is no single right answer.”

One important tool is learning to reverse engineer successful systems, products, or programs to understand how others have met such needs.  They will learn that engineering is much more than trial and error and that data is important in making systems performing as intended, and that sometimes they have to develop their own data.  A flashlight, a camera, and a drone for aerial imaging are only a few of the products students will design and build.

Students who submit a portfolio according to course requirements may apply for dual enrollment at one of four campuses of the University of Texas, enroll in a college-level engineering class, and earn college credit for their work.

Recently, Ramona welcomed Marie Girardot, Engineer Your World recruitment specialist from the University of Texas, and local educators to learn more about the program from students and the instructor with hopes of expanding this unique engineering curriculum experience with the community. Students were eager to take guests on a tour of their science labs and make-shift dark room created while exploring the STEM components involved in the production of a pinhole camera. Freshman Kamila Campos said, “I enjoy working collaboratively with students from different grades and different skill levels. Because this is my first year at Ramona, I know I have so much to learn when it comes to math, but my team members have really helped me learn about complex formulas and calculations and how they relate to engineering functions.”

Ramona Convent Secondary School is located at 1701 W. Ramona Road, Alhambra 91803. For more information, phone 626-282-4151, or visit www.ramonaconvent.org.

Picture: Ramona students, from left, Bryanna Lopez, Jenissa Jauregui, Samantha Gonzalez, and Ramona Convent instructor Aulikki Flagan demonstrate appropriate use of a self-engineered pinhole camera to local educators Howard Hernandez (Cathedral High School), David Galaz (Cathedral High School), Doug Rynerson (La Salle), and Marie Girardot (University of Texas).


designingsolve problemsengineeringnew courseskillscreativityingenuity

Jun 2021


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