Preparing Future STEM Educators: The Multidisciplinary Engineering Technology Program
This spring, our Dean’s Development Council had an opportunity to play with robots. From a giant spider and dancing skeleton you could move with a gamepad to a four-wheel mobile robot that could retrieve objects from the floor and deliver them to specific locations.
The robots are part of Dr. Mohamed Gharib’s Cooperative Robotics & Smart Manufacturing (Cobotics) Laboratory in the College of Engineering – and through a collaboration with the School of Education and Human Development, play a role in preparing future STEM teachers in Texas.
MXET & SEHD
The Multidisciplinary Engineering Technology (MXET) program focuses on two areas of study: Mechatronics and STEM Education. Mechatronics students are prepared to work in several industries, such as automated factories, robotics systems, aerospace, and oil & gas. STEM Education students will take courses from SEHD and the College of Engineering toward a Bachelor of Science in Multidisciplinary Engineering Technology. These students are also prepared to become certified in teaching secondary engineering, math, and physical science thanks to the program’s cutting-edge technical knowledge and teaching methods.
Dr. Gharib manages the MXET STEM Education program with Dr. Michael A. de Miranda, dean of SEHD, who touts what this program represents. “Texas A&M University is the only university in the United States that prepares teachers in physical science, math, and engineering in collaboration with the College of Engineering,” Dr. de Miranda said. “The STEM Education track is a unique engineering program that prepares the needed STEM educators who will inspire K-12 students to be future scientists and engineers,” Dr. Gharib added.
Also advocating for the program’s impact is Rachelle Pedersen, a doctoral student in our Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture, whose research focuses on motivation and social influences that support underrepresented students in STEM. “These students are not only excited to face the challenges that come along with getting an engineering degree but are passionate about getting the next generation of students from all backgrounds excited about STEM,” she said.
The robots Dr. Gharib showed our Dean’s Development Council were developed by MXET students and are the types of robots used to train STEM Education students. This year’s training included a partnership with a school in College Station ISD, where Dr. Gharib and his MXET students held a 14-week course and robotics competition using Lego Education Academy kits and lessons to benefit students at the school.
The robotics competition is part of Dr. Gharib’s Robotics Innovation in STEM Education (RISE) initiative, which creates bridges between schools, colleges and industry to enhance approaches in STEM education. Dr. Gharib adds, “The mission of the MXET program is to provide the necessary training and mentorship to the STEM Education track students in implementing exciting lessons and workshops in engineering and robotics for school students.”
The Dean’s Development Council supports our School by informing external stakeholders on the nature and impact of SEHD initiatives and providing feedback to the dean on these outreach efforts. They were delighted to experience Dr. Gharib’s Cobotics lab and learn about our proud collaboration with the College of Engineering.
To learn more, visit tx.ag/MXETSTEM.