Local grad gets jump start on engineering major

A Flower Mound High School grad is using the summer to get a head start on her college career.

Lauren O’Donley, who will be a freshman at the University of Oklahoma this fall, recently participated in the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering’s AT&T Summer Bridge Program, gaining academic preparation for the first semester of calculus and college life as an engineer.

Less than 10 percent of U.S. engineers are from critically under-represented minority groups but they represent more than 25 percent of the U.S. population. The OU College of Engineering is encouraging diversity in the engineering field through their selection of 28 incoming freshmen, 19 men and nine women majoring in an engineering discipline, who took part in the camp.

“These students are the cream of the crop as they already see the value in planning ahead and investing part of their summer to increase success in the classroom this fall,” said Tom Landers, dean of the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering. “Because engineering coursework can be a challenge, this program prepares incoming freshmen academically for the rewarding road ahead.” 

Bridging the gap between high school and college, the four-week on-campus program is designed to help prepare African American, Hispanic/Latino, Alaskan Native/Pacific Islander, American Indian, first-generation students or students from rural communities for their first year of engineering coursework. However, the program is not limited to underrepresented populations and all students are encouraged and welcome to attend.

In addition to refresher courses in calculus and chemistry, the program offers students the opportunity to work in teams on engineering projects inspired by the off-the-wall contraptions famously designed by Rube Goldberg.

“Through the experiences of a Rube Goldberg project, students learn the value of experimentation, teamwork and design reliability in developing a great product,” Landers said.

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