Engineer-in-Residence is the heart of what we do. The EIR program matches a volunteer engineer with an elementary or high school in their area for the entire school year. Each school provides a primary contact teacher, who volunteers to be the engineer’s main contact for that school year. Working together, the engineer and teacher plan a series of school visits in which the engineer can engage with students in a number of ways ranging from presentations to hands-on experiments, from research projects to field trips. These activities are curriculum-linked and are designed to get students excited about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, and to give a much needed real-world connection to classroom theory.
There is no cookie cutter approach to the program. We emphasize flexibility, which allows the teacher and engineer to work out what is best for their school based on student need as well as the engineer’s schedule, strengths and comfort levels. Although we emphasize the importance of going into the classroom to reach all students (not just those already interested in science), some EIRs go beyond and also help out with student science or robotics clubs and competitions or other STEM-related school teams.
The EIR program provides support and resources to all participants. This includes guides for setting up and running the program, resource materials and curriculum-linked classroom-tested activities. We also run an orientation session in late September or early October.
Thinking of signing up for the Engineer-in-Residence Program?
Time Commitment for volunteer engineers:
- Attend day-long (10 AM-4 PM on a weekend) orientation workshop in late September or early October (first year only for new volunteers).
- Time per month will vary. Average time spent is 1-2 hours of in-class time and 1-5 hours of prep per visit.
- Engineers must go into a classroom at least once/month for the full school year.
- Full school year (September to June) commitment is required.
Time Commitment for volunteer primary contact teachers:
- Attend day-long (10 a.m.-4 p.m. on a weekend) orientation workshop in late September or early October (first year only for new volunteers).
- Time per month will vary.
- Primary contact teachers typically have two roles – 1) to work with the engineer in his or her own classroom(s); 2) to introduce the engineer to school staff and other teachers and help the engineer integrate into the school community.