SHAPE initiative provides high school students with hands-on experience in battery technologies

manoogian_studentsThis week, the Wayne State University College of Engineering welcomed to campus five outstanding students from AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian School in Southfield, Michigan, to receive certificates for completion of the Summer High School Apprentice Program in Engineering (SHAPE).

SHAPE was introduced this year as an opportunity for high school students to work on emerging energy technologies, particularly batteries. The initiative was inspired by another youth outreach effort coordinated by Leela Arava, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Wayne State.

“We visited Manoogian as part of the Mobile Energy Lab program and recruited those five brightest students to come and work in the lab for six weeks,” said Arava. “They worked with my graduate students on research projects and gained tremendous hands-on experience at a very early stage of their careers.”

Students came to campus Monday through Wednesday. Each week’s curriculum was centered on a unique theme, including material synthesis, micro-level structure and composition, coin cell fabrication, battery testing, and sensor integration. In the final week, the students toured various laboratories and made presentations to faculty and mentors.

The College of Engineering leverages its resources and unique urban setting to foster community partnerships and provide foundational experiences for aspiring engineers. The purpose behind SHAPE and other programs is to introduce STEM concepts in real-world practicality and keep young people interested in engineering as a college major and career.

When the students and Principal Hosep Torossian visited the Wayne State campus on Sept. 12, they had an opportunity to share their stories with College of Engineering Dean Farshad Fotouhi and Professor Nabil Chalhoub, chair of mechanical engineering. The students gave glowing reviews of the program and several indicated that they planned to pursue their undergraduate studies at Wayne State.

“I want to extend my utmost gratitude to Drs. Chalhoub and Arava for their passion and commitment to inspire and train our future engineers,” said Torossian.  “Our students loved their engineering internship. Their lives have been changed by this experience.”