Engineering in Action SJSU Students Motivate Future Generations

Author: Paula Perez, CommUniverCity Project Coordinator

Engineering in Action connects San Jose State University engineering students to elementary school students in downtown San Jose. Introduction to Materials (MATE 25) and Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Properties of Materials (MATE 153) taught by Professor Oye are the two classes that participated in Engineering in Action. A total of 171 Engineering students prepared projects from a range of topics including: Mechanical Properties, Magnetic Properties, Conductivity, Optics, Diffusion and many others. The students presented their projects to educate, engage, and inspire young children into the STEM field and promote pursuing a collegiate career.

Engineering in Action was held at 6 elementary school after-school programs including Anne Darling Elementary School, Horace Mann Elementary School, Olinder Elementary School, Lowell Elementary School, McKinley Elementary School, and 3rd Street Community Center. Engineering in Action was offered to an average of 70 kinder-5th grade students per after-school program.

75% of elementary students reported in a follow up survey that they are more interested in learning more on Science and Engineering because of Engineering in Action!

A 4th grader from Lowell Elementary School shared her experience at the event, “I learned that light can’t affect how you see oil and water on the outside of a glass. Also, how magnetic force works.” An Engineering student shared, “I enjoy sharing knowledge with the youth, and helping to inspire children, especially those from demographics underrepresented in STEM to consider pursuing an education in STEM.”

62% of the San Jose State Engineering students reported in a follow up survey that they enjoyed demonstrating their concept to the elementary school students.

Our program encourages young children to enter the STEM field but also to think of an education beyond high school. We want to initiate the college-going culture within them.

Special thanks to Professor Oye, the San Jose State University Engineering students, and the wonderful elementary schools for allowing us to be a part of the student’s success.

If you are interested in volunteering in next semester’s Engineering in Action or want to learn more please contact Paula Perez at

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