Computer Engineering Academy Opens for Bridgeport Students
Fairfield University’s School of Engineering is launching a new Saturday program to interest students from high schools in Bridgeport about the wonders and promise of engineering.
The Computing Education Academy (CEA) will begin this week, running from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for 24 Saturdays during the 2013-14 academic school year. It will be attended by 20 high school sophomores and juniors selected from the Bridgeport Public Schools and the Diocese of Bridgeport. Grants have also funded CEA for a second year for a new class of students who will start the program in the fall of 2014.
“It’s so vital to get young people in the United States interested in areas like computing and software engineering, because they’re going to grow up to be our next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators,” said Bruce W. Berdanier, Ph.D., professor and dean of the School of Engineering. “This endeavor complements our strategic goal to enhance student interest in engineering and to increase the visibility of the importance of engineering to society through a student-centered approach.”
That mission is vital. The need to develop scientists and engineers in the nation is arguably now more important than ever to stay competitive in a global society. “We believe high school students who have experiences like the Computing Education Academy will want to go on to study engineering in higher education,” Dr. Berdanier said.
Funded by grants from various corporate organizations, including ASML and the United Illuminating Company, CEA will provide opportunities for students to learn key computing concepts and basic computer programming through hands-on activities. Fairfield’s Software Engineering Department faculty designed the curriculum and will teach it with the assistance of graduate and undergraduate students.
Faculty hope to establish a fun learning community, according to Amalia Rusu, Ph.D., associate professor of software engineering and CEA co-director.
“During the first semester, students will be exposed to key computing concepts and learn basic computer programming and web design through hands-on team projects,” said Dr. Rusu. “For the second semester, the participants will build their computer programming skills and work on mobile apps teamed with college students.”
Promising area students have been selected to be CEA scholars. “High school coordinators from the Bridgeport Public Schools and from the Diocese of Bridgeport worked with the School of Engineering to recruit great students,” said Wook-Sung Yoo, Ph.D., CEA co-director and chair of the Software Engineering Department.