“The next generation of engineers is going to play a key role in helping solve our society’s crises including access to health care, rising demand for energy, and climate change.”
Every semester, Dr. Gleixner’s Renewable Energy Engineering class designs hands-on projects to explain renewable energy technology to school-aged children. At the end of the semester, the San José State students bring their modules to the Third Street Community Center’s after school program, which has a science and engineering focus. The Third Street Community Center is in walking distance of the SJSU campus and services the neighborhood children, many of whom are low income and/or new immigrants.
Dr. Gleixner explains how service learning has impacted her students’ learning experiences: “This activity challenges students to think hard about what they have learned and explain it in concepts that a child can understand. The students discover that it is often hard to explain something in simple terms. While any kind of project could be designed that has students synthesize and apply what they learn, the service-learning aspect of the project makes the students feel like their effort in creating the project has value and worth. They have contributed something to society beyond just the abstract learning of the material and the intangible benefit to their future engineering career.”