This post was contributed by Ashley Boldt, The Hershey Company
For the past several years, the Susquehanna AIChE chapter has sponsored a shadow program for high school students at a handful of local businesses. One of the most active programs has been at The Hershey Company (THC). Each spring, a number of engineers at THC have been involved with a half-day shadow program that involves exposing four to six high school students to chemical engineering, through tours of local manufacturing sites and meetings with engineers from multiple parts of the organization, including process engineering, research and development, food science, operations, co-op students and interns, and marketing.
Typically, the students meet with six to twelve engineers throughout the course of the day. The program is a great opportunity for students to be exposed to a wide range of applications of a chemical engineering degree, and also includes discussion on potential schools, relevant classes, and the Susquehanna AIChE scholarship that is available for students who have declared chemical engineering as their major. A survey is given to each student to complete at the end of the program day that helps the engineers supporting the program modify and adapt the program to keep it current and relevant for everyone involved. Other informal shadows programs are completed by various volunteers from the chapter at other times during the year, as well as other engineers from other disciplines. Several engineers from THC are also involved with career days at local schools and giving presentations about engineering to K-12 students, and at local colleges.
To learn more about K-12 opportunities for AIChE members, or to let us know what you're already doing to foster and develop the next generation of ChE's, send an email to K12Outreach@aiche.org.