STEM early colleges are typically designed to give interested students the opportunity to learn more science, technology, and engineering-related topics. These students may have the opportunity to work with university faculties on their projects in the framework of a mentorship program between University and early college. The objective of this program is to guide the students on a specific topic related to engineering, such as energy, in order to enhance their understanding of math and science.
I was approached to be a mentor for these early college students to guide them through a project related to power plants. In this article, our aim is to share my experience developing a methodology for early-college students, that addresses particular educational challenges, using visualization-based methods and interviews with knowledgeable personal and experts in the area, to give the students the opportunity to understand the ins and outs of a specific application, without too much math and theory. Once the student has reached a certain level of confidence in their knowledge, we move on to other stages where more theoretical concepts are introduced. Our methodology is based on three tasks: (1) field visits; (2) literature; (3) computer applications; (4) mathematics and science.
Power plants are installations where steam is produced by boilers to be used for heating/cooling and hot water. These industrial facilities are connected to the electricity grid, as well as to natural gas utilities. They have other operations, such as water treatment and energy management. Usually, they are supervised 24/7, and security is at the top of the considerations.
In this article, I will expand on my experience with mentoring STEM early college students to achieve a higher level of understanding of power plants. The aim is to contribute to the preparation of a STEM pipeline in the field of engineering and advanced manufacturing. The pipeline for research and higher education begins specifically at an early age, where students are encouraged to peruse STEM-related programs. Our programs are mainly oriented toward high school, and early college students and continue through the completion of a college degree in STEM areas.
In this paper, we discuss the project design program from a student's perspective and experience gained in engineering, integration, written, and oral communication. The methodology used to improve the students’ understanding of complex problems is also described.
The full paper will be available to logged in and registered conference attendees once the conference starts on
July 26, 2021, and to all visitors after the conference ends on July 19, 2022
Are you a researcher? Would you like to cite this paper?
Visit the ASEE document repository at
for more tools and easy citations.