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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Engineering Scholarship Recipient Craig Schmidt, Jr., Mentors Future Engineers

Craig Schmidt, Jr., a student council member of NSHSS and sophomore in the University Honors Program and College of Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, has been selected as the 2013 recipient of the Kelly Engineering Resources Future Engineers Scholarship. This is a highly competitive national competition open to sophomore and junior undergraduate engineering students. The scholarship is a $5,000 award designed to encourage students interest in engineering and to build awareness of engineering as a career path with unlimited potential. The purpose is to alleviate a critical current and future shortage of highly qualified engineers. 

To help encourage other young students to become future engineers, he has been actively involved in mentoring middle school students. Craig took a service-​​learning class last year and returned this past fall as an assis­tant. He helped engi­neering stu­dents teach engi­neering design prin­ci­ples to sev­enth and eighth graders at Orchard Garden Middle School in Boston’s Rox­bury neighborhood and is happy to share this experience with NSHSS:

Craig Schmidt: I think the saying that in order to learn some­thing really well you have to teach it is a com­pletely accu­rate phrase. You learn about engi­neering design in class, but until you are familiar enough with the con­cepts that you can teach them your­self — and make it fun for middle school stu­dents — you don’t fully know it.

For the past three semesters at Northeastern University, I have been involved in a service learning Outreach Program teaching and mentoring 6th, 7th and 8th grade middle school students in an inner city middle school (Orchard Garden School--a Citizen School) in Roxbury, MA. My work there with a largely Hispanic population has been to help these students build alternative energy vehicles and along the way help them discover the beauty and grand future that can be theirs. This just might be the motivation they need to lead them to a career in Engineering. I have worked closely with my mentor Dr. Susan Freeman, a senior academic specialist in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Northeastern. Following my work with her both semesters during my freshman year, I took on the responsibilities of a Service Learning Teaching Assistant in my sophomore year. As part of my work I report to the Center of Community Service on progress that is being made with community partners like Citizens schools. I had the opportunity to participate in a Catalyst Launch reception at the Google Center in Cambridge, MA in October, 2012. This exciting initiative has set lofty goals of engaging 7.500 volunteer professionals and engineering students to deliver up 2,500 apprenticeships around the country, raising 10 million dollars by 2015 and encouraging and mentoring young students.

The outcome is clear: the student we serve will have double the interest in science, technology, engineering, and math careers, and perform better on their math exams.