This paper shares experiences of community engagement activity through hosting math competitions for the local middle school and high school students. This activity had positive impact not only in introducing STEM careers to the prospect students, but also providing an excellent service opportunity for our college of engineering students. Over the last 10 years, this activity has gradually become an integral part of the engineering curriculum.
For most colleges hosting math competitions, they are typically organized by the math department. Many institutions limited their involvement open the facility only and not much beyond that. The math competitions hosted by our institution are organized by the College of Engineering. In our curriculum design, we ask our engineering students to accumulate 30 hours of community service as part of the graduation requirement. Over the years, hosting math competition has becoming the single most important service opportunity for our students. Every year, our engineering students participated as proctors and graders. They not only enjoy the activity but also appreciate the connection with the prospect students and their own career future.
As part of the engineering outreach program, we opened our lab for tours and showed the prospect students and parents the connection between math and engineering careers. Among the lessons we learned is that making it as part of the engineering curriculum enabled the activity process much more effective and efficient.
This paper will outline the detail process of hosting the competitions (MATHCOUNTS for middle school and AMC10/12/AIME for high school), the positive impact to both local school kids and our own engineering students, the important lessons learned over the years, and the effect on the enrollment of both our engineering programs as well as the overall university enrollment.
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