ROGERS, Ark. — Teachers are always thinking of new ways to inspire the next generation. For this Educate Arkansas, we go inside a classroom in Rogers where the teachers step aside to make room for a more hands-on way to inspire.
”I don’t think it’s boring, it’s not just spreadsheets and writing papers… I mean there is a lot of that… but you get to do more!"
Excitement might not be the first word you think of when you hear engineering but some University of Arkansas students would beg to differ.
"I think engineering is incredibly fun. You get to take stuff that you just picture in your brain, and once you learn all the hard stuff, you get to make that picture go from kind of just being an idea to something you can hold in your hand," said Julia Khoskins, a U of A Engineering student.
It's that conception-to-reality process that hooked Julia just a few years ago and inspired her to come to speak to the next generation of engineers.
"I fell in love with it. I love engineering. You get to create and build and do all these neat things. It kind of feels like you’re playing when you go to work. Not exactly but a little… I think if kids were introduced to it earlier, they would get to have the same passion and love that I do.”
And that's exactly why she spent some time at the Lingle Middle School in Rogers as part of a program that connects people in the U of A's Engineering Department with some of the gifted and talented sixth graders.
“STEM is a really big push for us in Rogers so that we can teach our girls that there’s a lot more out there in the world than maybe what they’re accustomed to hearing about."
Students like Cadence Stamps, a sixth grader at LMS who is already seeing the bigger picture.
"I think it prepares us because it shows us the real world. Like, we aren’t gonna have to recite when the Constitution was signed in our lives ..so it kind of brings us down to Earth to show us what we will be doing when we get older and get out of school.”
Rogers uses their Gifted and Talented Program known as Reach to bring in speakers like Julia to the classroom to teach real-world applications and answer questions, hopefully opening the door for future engineers.
Cindy Dunn, the Reach Instructor at LMS said the guest speakers are a welcome presence in the classroom.
“We absolutely love to have guest speakers in our classroom. We as teachers are facilitators, but we are not experts in every field. So It’s good to bring in the experts. When we have questions ourselves, we get to learn with the students... and having the kids learn from somebody different is always an awesome opportunity for them," Dunn said.
An opportunity that didn't go wasted. In fact, it's safe to say some future engineers may have just gotten the inspiration they needed.
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