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Career Exploration Collaborative Being Designed to Serve Students Nationwide, Internationally

Ferris State UniversityOfficials with Ferris State University’s Academic Affairs Office and the College of Engineering Technology continue preparations to offer expanded programming to young women, through Technology Engineering Aptitude, or TEA events, while continuing their emphasis on opportunities for young men in health care delivery, where they are under-represented.

The university had developed a relationship with Celeste Baine, an engineer and educator who had established a nationally-accepted curriculum for young students through her Engineering Education Service Center. Debbie Dawson, an associate professor in Ferris’ School of Engineering and Computing Technology, said Baine had proposed the establishment of a national hub, where Ferris would serve as the sole training site for TEA instructors, while retaining the ability to host TEA events for students and school systems, along with Engineering Exploration Day programs for students.

“I was certified as a TEA trainer, in 2011, and five other members of our faculty and staff completed the same training, in 2014,” Dawson said. “We are working to establish the Ferris Career Exploration Collaborative where we will promote this important aspect of learning while building toward a greater international exposure of these career opportunities.”

Leigha Compson, a University Career programs specialist, works on behalf of Academic Affairs to support CET students and the college’s initiatives. She said nearly 500 students, parents and educators have participated in TEA events on Ferris’ campus in the last year with significant growth potential for these offerings.

“We feel that the university is capable of advancing a flexible curriculum, which will address various student age groups, for both young men and women,” Compson said. “We believe there is much to be done by continuing and advancing what Celeste has developed. There are school systems who are bringing us more of their instructors to be TEA trained, and the Fall 2017 semester surpassed the previous semester in terms of total participation.”

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Blake said he is encouraged by the potential that the Ferris Career Exploration Collaborative has in terms of furthering learning while promoting goals of the university in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics instruction.

“As the national coordination center for TEA events and activities, Ferris is in a unique position to significantly touch lives, especially the lives of young women in STEM curricula and careers, and young men in health care curricula and careers,” Blake said. “Much as a rock thrown into a pond creates ripples that continue to radiate outward, our efforts will continue to provide life-altering opportunities to young people for generations to come.”

The Collaborative would also produce and distribute TEA training materials to educators, while it develops a vision for continued growth of this instruction. These initiatives are part of the process that establishes the Collaborative as a training institute, which would be led by an executive and associate director. More information on particulars regarding the Career Exploration Collaborative and its leadership are likely later in the year.

PHOTO CAPTION: Preparations are advancing to establish the Ferris Career Exploration Collaborative, which will position Ferris State University as a national and international source of training in Technology Engineering Aptitude, which is designed to expose young women to STEM career opportunities. The Collaborative will also demonstrate what health care delivery education offers to young men, where they are tradtionally under-represented. The university will build on a TEA curriculum developed by engineer and educator Celeste Baine, who has an instructional relationship with Ferris' College of Engineering Technology.