Texas A&M faculty awarded National Science Foundation grant to enhance Texas teachers’ knowledge and skills in manufacturing

Two faculty members from the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University were recently awarded a $554,678 National Science Foundation grant to enhance the knowledge and skill level of Texas teachers in manufacturing to promote the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) career interest for middle and high school students.

Manufacturing is a billion-dollar industry giant that has a shortage of workforce availability in Texas. This project seeks to meet the increasing demand for a qualified manufacturing workforce by training public school educators, paving the way for more hands-on manufacturing school programs, opportunities and student-led activities.

WANYE HUNG SPRING 2017

Principal investigator Dr. “Wayne” Ngyuen Hung and co-principal investigator Dr. Mathew Kuttolamadom will begin their project in summer 2018. The funded proposal is entitled “RET Site: Enhancing Teacher Knowledge & Skills in Modern Manufacturing.”

MATT KUTTOLAMADOM SPRING 2017

Hung and Kuttolamadom will be working on the funded project, alongside Dr. Satish Bukkapatnam from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Dr. Bruce Tai from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

The Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) site will host 12 teachers at the Texas A&M campus for six weeks each summer for three years. Teachers will take part in manufacturing-focused capsulated technical sessions, complementary lab practice, tours, seminars and guided research projects within a design-thinking framework.

The program will engage the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and local industries for support, as well as leverage the existing infrastructure at Texas A&M, such as the Enrichment Experiences in Engineering program and the annual P-12 Teachers Summit and Leadership Forum.

The on-site experience will be supplemented with follow-up visits to the teachers’ home institution, and they will be required to provide regular status updates for a year.

The program’s success will be measured by tracking the participation of students in science/engineering clubs at participating schools, as well as the number of students entering STEM programs and competitions during/after high school.

Teachers from four Texas independent school districts in Bryan, College Station, Houston and Pharr will begin participating in summer 2018.