The PREFACE Program, which began at Rensselaer more than 30 years ago, gives high school sophomores and juniors the opportunity to come to Rensselaer and experience what an engineering education can offer them. It is a program for individuals who have expressed a strong, early interest in pursuing a career in the engineering and technological professions and who are from groups that have been historically and traditionally underrepresented or underserved in science, engineering, and technological fields. Through interactive laboratory experiences, lectures, discussions, field trips, and plant visits, participants have an opportunity to explore the challenges and rewards of a technological education. In addition to the hands-on experience, the students also take classes in core disciplines, from electrical engineering and computing to leadership and career development. PREFACE is funded through annual corporate and foundation contributions, and subsidizes each participant’s round-trip transportation to Rensselaer, tuition, fees, and room and board for the two-week session.
In 2007, Rensselaer accepted 42 students to participate in the two, two-week sessions in July, from over 200 applicants from around the nation. They are exceptional young men and women from 16 states as far away as California, Montana, Texas and Florida, as well as Puerto Rico.
Participation in the PREFACE Summer Program provides the student participants with extraordinary opportunities:
- Experience using an engineering process approach to resolve a problem (e.g., design, troubleshoot, innovate, model, revise, and assess outcomes);
- Activities, classes and workshops create opportunities to develop leadership and team-building skills;
- Students explore career opportunities available in the engineering professions as a means to develop a deeper understanding of the role and expectations of an engineering education;
- The PREFACE Program presents a snapshot of college life and its academic, social, cultural, and environmental experiences.
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