Gannon University’s Mechanical Engineering Day
Posted: March 14, 2014
Students in Gannon University's mechanical engineering program
are holding a day to introduce JoAnna Connell Elementary School
students to the field of mechanical engineering.
Through an American Society Mechanical Engineering (ASME)
Diversity Action Grant, about 35 students in the ASME and Society
of Women Engineers (SWE) chapters at Gannon University are
welcoming about 57 seventh and eighth grade students from JoAnna
Connell Elementary School to participate in Mechanical Engineering
Day Friday, March 14.
The middle school students will hear from Scott Steinbrink,
Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical engineering, William L.
Scheller, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering and Business,
and senior mechanical engineering students Erika Schmidt, president
of Gannon's SWE chapter, and Sheldon Addis, president of Gannon's
ASME chapter. They students will also partake in activities
throughout the day to introduce the concepts of mechanical
engineering, including building small boats and tall towers from
unconventional objects, and learning how to keep an egg from being
the victim of a car crash.
"These activities allow the students to have fun while
experiencing Mechanical Engineering, which will hopefully influence
the students to pursue and explore engineering, and other
fields further," Schmidt said.
Addis explained further, "The ultimate goal of the day is to put
the idea of engineering in the students minds, so that in the
future we can gain a few more engineers whether at Gannon or a
The JoAnna Connell students were chosen to participate in
Mechanical Engineering Day due to the school's location within
Gannon's Erie-GAINS reach; it is also a part of the College For
Every Student (CFES) program.
Jim Rutkowski, CFES program director, said, "One major goal of
CFES is to expose the students at a young age to the idea of
attending college, what college life is like, the types of majors
and activities that happen on a college campus and, most
importantly, to have these young students make a connection with a
real-life college student. These types of exposure get our kids
thinking that, 'Yes, I can be a college student and I know what I
need to do to get there.'"
CFES was started in Erie elementary school about five years ago.
"We are now seeing an increase in the number of students from our
CFES schools are being accepted at Collegiate, Prep, Villa and
Mercyhurst, all schools with a good reputation for preparing
students for college," Rutkowski said.
Dr. Steinbrink also attributed the day being possible to the
ASME Diversity Grant. "The purpose of the grant is to encourage
young students to consider engineering as a field of study by
specifically reaching out to public schools to bring in that
diversity," he said.
Those involved are looking forward to the day and recognize the
importance behind its purpose. Addis said, "It is important for
Gannon and future engineers to try to stimulate students into
choosing a career in the science fields. The science fields are
some of the fastest growing and most promising fields, so it is
important to introduce students who wouldn't consider the field or
who don't know what it is. By bringing them to Gannon, we are able
to introduce them to engineering at a young age and hopefully show
them how much fun it can be."
Interview and b-roll opportunity between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.
Friday, March 14 with students and faculty member, Dr. Scott
Steinbrink, Gannon University Mechanical Engineering Department, in
the Waldron Campus Center. Please contact Haley Figurski at