Detroit Schools Partner for Engineering Success

By Stacey Andell for Schools K-12

The Detroit Schools have partnered with local universities to get students thinking about careers in science and engineering.   Students at different levels of the Detroit Public Schools are being targeted in a statewide effort to get more women and minorities enrolled in engineering programs.   One program that makes this its mission is the Detroit Area Pre College Engineering Program (DAPCEP).  

The Detroit Area Pre College Engineering Program

DAPCEP works with area students in three main ways.   It partners with local public school teachers to design a curriculum that encourages creative thinking in the sciences.  To fulfill this goal, DAPCEP sponsors science fairs, field trips, and university seminars for students and teachers.  

DAPCEP also runs a Saturday program in conjunction with local universities and corporations to provide enrichments activities for students in grades 4 – 12.   These activities focus on different aspects of math, computer science, engineering, physics, chemistry, and communication skills.  

In addition to its programs during the school year, DAPCEP brings local public school students into universities for summer programs.  Some of the summer programs are residential, with students living on campus for a few weeks and getting a real taste for the college life.   Other programs provide transportation to and from campus. 

University Partnerships

DAPCEP’s list of university partners is certainly impressive.  

  • University of Detroit Mercy
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Michigan Ann Arbor
  • Wayne State University
  • Lawrence Technical University
  • Oakland University
  • University of Michigan Dearborn
  • Michigan Technological University

The Little Engineer Program

In addition to their very successful middle school and high school programs, DAPCEP also has something for smaller learners.   Its Little Engineer Program is for students in grades K – 3.   These Saturday classes for both children and their parents focus on teaching and learning math, science, pre-engineering, and reading.  

How to Join DAPCEP

The selection process for DAPCEP can be daunting for parents anxious to give this opportunity to their children.   DAPCEP holds an open house each fall for prospective students and parents.   Students must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average in all their school subjects.   Other factors, such as attendance, and taking certain academic subjects in the regular school curriculum, such as physics, chemistry, and higher level math, also play a role in student selection.   For many programs, students also need letters of recommendation from their math and science teachers.

Summer Course Offerings

DAPCEP’s university partnerships are providing a range of summer courses of Detroit area students.   Here are some highlights:

  • Watershed Investigators (University of Detroit Mercy)
    Students will investigate local water quality in a series of real – world experiments.  
  • How Math Rocks Our World (Tabernacle)
    Students will see how their math and science skills compare with other students around the world, in particular China and India.
  • Wireless Integrated Microsystems (Michigan State University)
    Hands – on activities and presentations from nine different engineering majors offered at the university.
  • Engineering Intensive Workshop ( Michigan Technological University)
    Students choose two areas of study, ranging from Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Aided Engineering, Computer Programming, Material Engineering, Chemical Engineering and others. 

All of the DAPCEP programs emphasize the Detroit Area Public School District’s commitment to ensuring that students have the opportunity to explore many challenging areas and gain further insights into the college experience.