Middle and high school students will launch miniature rockets, visit NASA Johnson Space Center and learn engineering design at the 2009 Houston Pre-freshman Enrichment Program (PREP), thanks in part to a $5,000 grant from Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD).
This summer up to 250 kids from local schools will get hands-on experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in a seven-week summer course. The curriculum gives them a range of exciting and challenging activities that enhance learning, experimentation and research.
For many years, KBR professionals have worked with students during the Houston PREP Engineering Day, held at the end of each summer session. This is the first corporate grant KBR has awarded to Houston PREP.
“We are very happy to receive the acknowledgement and grant from KBR,” says Sangeeta Gad, program coordinator of Houston PREP and lecturer of mathematical science in UHD’s College of Sciences and Technology. “I believe there should be more activities in the community like Houston PREP because the demand is so high. This type of program deserves to be on more campuses and have more industry and community support.”
· 2009 Houston PREP begins June 8 and ends July 17.
· Engineering Day is Wednesday, July 15.
· Professionals in the STEM fields may volunteer through their company or professional organizations. For more information, call the Houston PREP office at 713-221-8686.
KBR funds educational programs that directly benefit the community and offer volunteer opportunities for KBR employees. Houston PREP’s 20 years of success demonstrated its sound financial foundation.
Houston PREP is a four-year educational program in the UHD Center for Computational Science and Advanced Distributed Simulation. First year PREP students take engineering, logic, problem-solving and computer science. The second year curriculum includes engineering, physics, linear algebra and problem solving. Third year students take statistics, technical writing, SAT preparatory sessions and computer science classes. Fourth year students are eligible for UHD dual credit courses in psychology and computer science. They also take algebra, calculus, physics, computational science or computer science. University faculty teach the courses. Each year of PREP builds on the previous year’s knowledge.
Since 1989, more than 3,000 middle and high school students have successfully completed at least one summer component of Houston PREP. Of the 3,000, 94 percent are minorities, 59 percent are women, and 67 percent are from economically disadvantaged families. A recent survey of Houston PREP alumni shows 99.9 percent graduated from high school and the 49 percent who are enrolled at a four-year university are pursuing a degree in a STEM field.
The Texas Education Agency has approved Houston PREP’s curriculum for high school graduation credit (one to three units). Students graduating from Houston PREP are eligible for UHD scholarships.
UHD is a diverse, four-year state university that offers a wide variety of undergraduate program and graduate programs in criminal justice, professional writing, security management and teaching. UHD promotes civic responsibility and applies its intellectual capital and talent to benefit the larger community. It is one of four separate universities in the University of Houston System.