On Feb. 24, 2012, members of the SAME Northern Virginia Post and George Mason University (GMU) Student Chapter met with and encouraged budding engineers at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va.
The two-day event, called Engineering Day at Thomas Jefferson High school, or E Day at TJ for short, is an annual outreach event of the Post. Since 2008, Bill Kilpatrick, Ph.D., Vice President, SAME Northern Virginia Post, and other SAME Northern Virginia Post leaders have served as E Day at TJ guest speakers. The Post leaders provide students insight into the field of engineering by discussing career opportunities, college scholarships and other related topics. GMU Student Chapter members also attend the event every year.
Kilpatrick acknowledges the strong connection the GMU Student Chapter members foster with the high school students. He said that “the GMU Student Chapter members do an excellent job of filling the gap between the high school students and continuing members like me. They connect with the high school students on a more fundamental level because they have recently shared the same experiences and had the same questions as the high school students.”
This year, E Day at TJ was attended by about 60 students. During the Table Talk session, the Post and Student Chapter leaders took seats at different tables while students went from table to table to talk and ask questions. The opportunity to meet with SAME members, all at different points in their careers and focused on different engineering fields, gave the students an idea of what lies ahead should they pursue their interest in engineering. Laurie Kobick, College Career Center Specialist at TJ, said that the Table Talk session reaps the greatest benefit because it allows the students to sit down and talk with engineering undergraduates and professionals one-on-one. “Our kids, when looking at colleges, are primarily interested in engineering and the table talks were an enhancement and clarification of that."