Project SYNCERE makes engineering fun for young African American students

12:40 PM, Feb 7, 2011   |    comments
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A lesson on velocity taught by racing wooden vehicles with CDs for wheels. The prize isn't money, but it's just as rich -- an education.

A group of students connecting the dots and cracking the concepts of physics.

"You don't just have to sit down in the classroom and write and write and write. It's kind of cool because we actually get to do hands-on work," said Jamaine Smith, a 7th grader at Dumas Academy on Chicago's south side.

Smith is just one student active in the programs of Project SYNCERE.

SYNCERE stands for Supporting Youth's Needs with Core Engineering Research Experiments. The program teaches students the key math and science skills that engineers use every day.

"Most of them think an engineer is a train conductor or someone who fixes cars," said mechanical engineer Jason Coleman, Project SYNCERE co-founder. "After being part of our program, technology [is] used on [an] everyday basis."

Despite starting only two years ago, Project SYNCERE has spread to 15 more schools with more than 800 students reaping the benefits by learning more about math and science.

"We're really taking it upon ourselves to really push to the next level. That they can be great, they can be somebody," Coleman said. 

The class helped 7th grader Starshaun Harris develop a passion to pursue a mechanical engineering career.

"They say it's gonna take a lot of schooling and focus and concentration and patience, but I think I can do it," said Harris. 

"It does make me feel like I can tackle other things because it lets me know I can do more than I usually do," said Smith.

Project SYNCERE hopes it can instill that very sense of determination in each of its students.


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