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Transforming Engineering Access for Mercer Students


Track 1 Planning and Conference Grant

Mercer County Community College (MCCC) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a National Science Foundation – Broadening Participation in Engineering (NSF-BPE) grant.

  • Project Name:
    “TEAMS” – Transforming Engineering Access for Mercer Students” (Track 1 Planning and Conference Grant)

  • Scope:
    Transforming Engineering Access for Mercer Students (TEAMS) will engage the community by establishing collaborations between three target groups: high schools, colleges/universities, and the engineering industry. The TEAMS activities will include four conferences, college engineering tours, engineering project field trips, and a presentation of findings at a national engineering conference. The first conference will target area high schools, with a goal of identifying student barriers to engineering. The second conference will target colleges and universities, with a goal of identifying effective institutional interventions. The third conference will target the engineering industry, with a goal of identifying engineering employer needs. The final conference will be a summary roundtable discussion, with a goals of creating an engineering readiness summary and an engineering employee skills summary.

    TEAMS will broaden participation in engineering by establishing engineering mentoring opportunities, increasing engineering student engagement and motivation, and creating a partnership with engineering stakeholders. The TEAMS program will identify barriers to the engineering profession for those traditionally underserved, and promote participation of diverse students, faculty and professionals.

  • Principal Investigators:
    Dr. James Maccariella, P.E. (PI),
    Dr. Terry Voldase (co-PI),
    Dr. Laura Sosa (co-PI),

TEAMS Conferences

Conference Goal Date
Area High Schools Identify student barriers to engineering 10/12/23
Colleges and Universities Identify effective institutional interventions 11/9/23
Engineering Industry Identify engineering employer needs 2/8/24
Summary Conference Create an engineering college readiness summary
Create an engineering employee skills summary

Note: All conferences to be held at the Conference Center at Mercer from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Participants will receive a complimentary dinner.


What Can I Expect to Learn If I Attend a Conference?

Conference 1 (Area High Schools). The conference will provide an introduction to the practice of engineering including: engineering disciplines, work environment, and competencies. The conference will discuss effective communication in addition to career planning topics such as resumes, interviews, internships, transferring to 4-year institutions, and professional licensure.

Conference 2 (Colleges and Universities). The conference will discuss college graduation rates, student readiness and success, student development, interest in engineering, indicators for engineering student success and institutional interventions.

Conference 3 (Engineering Consulting Firms and Professional Engineering Societies). The conference will discuss desired employee skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, communication, collaboration, and leadership.

Conference 4 (Summary Conference). The summary conference will invite all the prior conference speakers to participate in a roundtable discussion. Roundtable discussions will allow attendees to participate in a conversation discussion, and allow many different points of view to be discussed. The roundtable discussion will be organized with the TEAMS PIs serving as the moderators. The audience will be invited to participate by asking questions and providing feedback. The summary conference will share the findings from the three prior conferences’ data collections.


What Activities Are Included With This Grant?

  • college engineering tours at area engineering programs

    The college tours will be free to high school students and their parents and will provide a sense of the college’s character and facilities. The college tours will allow students to ask questions and meet other prospective engineering students.

  • engineering project field trips

    The engineering project field trips will include attendance at a professional engineering society meeting, a presentation by the design engineers, and a tour of the facility under construction. The engineering field trip will provide real world engagement with state-of-the art technology which can cultivate shared experiences, and improve confidence and motivation.


Contact any of the project principal investigators (above) for more information.