GEORGIA TECH SAVANNAH KICKS OFF THE SAVANNAH ENGINEERING ACADEMY

  News clip courtesy of WJCL - The Coastal Source 

SAVANNAH, Ga. (June 22, 2011) – A week long summer camp consisting of engineering seminars and hands-on learning sessions got underway Monday, June 20, 2011 at the Savannah Engineering Academy hosted by Georgia Tech Savannah. The Academy is a program for the advanced teaching of science and engineering that incorporates and highlights industry experts from organizations such as Gulfstream, Standard Concrete Products, EFACEC and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to name a few. Each day, the Academy showcases different engineering disciplines with subjects and activities pertaining to aerospace , civil, computer, electrical, environmental, manufacturing, mechanical, structural, and water resource engineering.

With only 30 slots available, students chosen for the Savannah Engineering Academy go through a highly competitive selection and application process. In addition to providing teacher recommendations, students have grades at the 80th percentile or better in all mathematics, engineering, technology, and science classes. The 2011 Academy includes students from the following schools in Georgia and South Carolina: Brentwood School (Sandersville, Ga.); Bulloch Academy (Statesboro, Ga.), Effingham County High School (Springfield, Ga.) , HV Jenkins High School Honors Academy (Savannah, Ga.); Landmark Christian High School (Newnan, Ga.); Liberty County High School (Hinesville, Ga.), Richmond Hill High School (Richmond Hill, Ga.), Robert W. Groves High School (Garden City, Ga.); Savannah Arts Academy (Savannah, Ga.); Savannah Christian Preparatory School (Savannah, Ga.); Savannah Early College (Savannah, Ga.), South Effingham High School (Guyton, Ga.); St. Andrew's School (Savannah, Ga.); Vidalia High School (Vidalia, Ga.); and Wade Hampton High School (Varnville, S.C.).

“This program exposes students to various facets of engineering,” says Patricia Potter, Georgia Tech Savannah program manager and coordinator for the Savannah Engineering Academy. “The students really enjoy the experience as it helps them prepare for their college studies and a potential career in engineering.”

Day one of the Savannah Engineering Academy entailed a discussion of Civil Engineering conducted by Mike Zaitz of Hussey, Gay, Bell & DeYoung, Dawn Morgan of Collins Construction and John Panhorst of Spatial Engineering, Inc. After an introduction to the day’s events and concepts, the students were transported from the Georgia Tech Savannah campus to Standard Concrete Products and given a tour of the facilities. Upon returning to the campus, students were divided into two groups and alternated between activities that helped demonstrate the importance of survey groups and structural engineering.

“This year’s Savannah Engineering Academy is taking a notably different approach than those of years past,” says Potter. “This year, we’re making a greater effort in explaining the relevance and importance of the concepts and materials that the students will be exposed to.”

On day two of the Academy, Gulfstream's AIAA members took students through an engineering challenge and a tour of the manufacturing facility. Students had a chance to talk with a diverse array of employees and co-op students while working on a classroom project. Gulfstream engineers provided real-world explanations and showed students the pros and cons related each issue. 

"This is a great opportunity to get youth and teachers excited about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM),” says Miriam Hodesh, community relations specialist for Gulfstream. “The students involved with the Savannah Engineering Academy are passionate about engineering, and as a host, Gulfstream can inform and educate students about our diverse career options. For these high school juniors and seniors who are especially interested in engineering, we want to share the many possibilities available to them in flight sciences, custom engineering, aircraft systems, structural design, completion and other career paths."

Days three and four included tours and engineering exercises at the City of Savannah Water Treatment Facility and at EFACEC, a Portuguese company that manufactures large power transformers at its Rincon, Ga. facility. Students also conducted a concrete crushing exercise, built a water filtration system, worked on constructing power transformers, and soldered circuits for LED flashlights.

The final day of the Savannah Engineering Academy focuses on water resource management and is led by Beth Williams of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District. The Army Corps of Engineers helps with the camp annually as part of its community outreach program. The day begins with a brief overview of the Army Corps of Engineers followed by a riverboat tour of engineering projects taking place along the Savannah River. Additionally, students will learn about the Savannah River’s role as a shipping channel and an estuary with a unique system of tidal creeks, rivers and marshes. Topics that will be discussed include dredging, water quality and the Corps’ harbor deepening project. The day concludes with a panel discussion and awards ceremony. 

“Seeing young people get excited about science and engineering makes all the effort worthwhile,” says Williams. “This camp can lead them to the type of rewarding career so vital to the nation and our region. We try to provide an opportunity for the students to learn about what is going on in their community as well as what engineers actually do every day, which gives them a perspective that they might not have had otherwise. We try to make the learning experience memorable and---more importantly---fun!”

The Savannah Engineering Academy is made possible by Georgia Tech Savannah, Armstrong Atlantic State University, the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System as well as many local companies, professional organizations, and professional engineers who volunteer their time, talent and energy to benefit academy students. Partners include the  City of Savannah; Collins Construction; EFACEC; Georgia Ports Authority; Gulfstream; Home Depot; Hussey, Gay, Bell & DeYoung Engineering & Architects; MegaWatt Laser; Spatial Engineering; Stage Front Presentation Systems; Standard Concrete Products; Terracon; Thomas & Hutton Engineering Company; and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District. Professional organizations include the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers; National Association of Women in Construction; and the Society of American Military Engineers.

For more information about the Savannah Engineering Academy, visit:
http://savannah.gatech.edu/community-relations/k-12-outreach-programs/savannah-engineering-academy

Read the Media Advisory sent on June 15, 2011
 

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About Georgia Tech Savannah:

Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech, is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked the 12th best engineering and information technology university in the world by the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings and seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities, Georgia Tech has more than 20,000 students and is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. Georgia Tech Savannah provides important outreach services to the local and regional community. Through the development of campus programs and participation in community outreach, Georgia Tech Savannah supports and encourages students, teachers and life-long learners in their understanding and appreciation of engineering and related fields. 

Contact Info: 

Nikki Troxclair, APR, LEED AP
Assistant Director of Campus Communications
Georgia Institute of Technology - Savannah
210 Technology Circle
Savannah, Georgia 31407
Direct: 912-966-7913
Cell: 912-313-2256