NSF awards $4M to expand national high school engineering program

BME professor Stacy Klein-Gardner is e4usa co-director and co-PI

The National Science Foundation has awarded partner institutions $4 million over the next three years to broaden the impact of Engineering for US All (e4usa), an NSF-funded program that makes engineering more accessible to high school students and educators.

e4usa provides an educational curriculum for students to learn and demonstrate engineering principles, skills and practices while training educators interested in teaching.

Stacy Klein-Gardner

Stacy Klein-Gardner, adjunct professor of biomedical engineering, serves as co-director and co-PI for e4usa. University of Maryland President Darryll J. Pines is the program’s principal investigator and was instrumental in launching e4usa in 2018 while serving as dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering.

“e4usa seeks to democratize and demystify engineering. I am delighted to be doing this not only nationally, but also in Vanderbilt’s backyard at three MNPS schools and Williamson County’s Brentwood High School where I serve as their university liaison and attend class weekly,” Klein-Gardner said.

“Through e4usa, we’re building engineering literacy in all students and creating a deeper and more diverse pool of engineers,” she said. “Unlike some other current offerings for introductory engineering courses, e4usa has low barriers to entry and is less expensive to implement. Students need only be in Algebra I, and educators can learn to teach engineering, no matter their educational background.”

The only national high school engineering program of its kind, e4usa has already worked with 36 high schools and more than 2,000 students in 12 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The new NSF funding will help extend e4usa’s reach to include approximately 5,000 students and 50 teachers nationwide. Students are recruited from public, independent and parochial schools in rural, suburban and urban settings. e4usa students explore engineering in society, develop professional skills, and engage in community-focused engineering design experiences, all aimed at helping them see themselves as engineers.

Other e4usa partners include Arizona State University, Morgan State University and the University of Indianapolis.

Contact: Brenda Ellis, 615 343-6314