Educating Young Engineers (EYE)
Educating Young Engineers is an organization dedicated to providing every child with access to engineering education starting in Kindergarten. I co-founded EYE with my classmate Kayleah and teacher Michael Gallagher as my senior year in high school as a capstone project for our engineering design and development course. When I was in elementary school, being an engineer wasn’t a profession I was aware of. In 2014, when we started EYE, engineering was not being taught in our school district before middle school, and to solve this problem we set out to provide programs both during the instructional day, after school, and on the weekends to make sure that all students in our school district, regardless of age, were getting access to hands on learning experiences.
In our first year, Kayleah and I started a LEGO engineering club at one elementary school and published our engineering challenges. We also ran three Saturday engineering programs, which each had 150 students in attendance. All EYE programs are 100% student run, with high school students both designing the engineering challenges and teaching the younger students during the event. Each Saturday program is built around a central theme, such as athletics or music, and students spend the day rotating between engineering design challenges relating to that themes.
Every year since Kayleah and I graduated a new group of high school students has taken over the leadership of EYE as their engineering design and development project. Under Michael Gallagher’s continued guidance, EYE has grown to achieve the following exciting milestones:
- EYE Received the Be the Change for the Kids Grant from the New York State School Board in 2014
- All five elementary schools in the Saratoga Springs school district now have engineering as part of the instructional curriculum
- Raised over $100,000 for engineering education programming and technologies
- Helped start LEGO Engineering clubs in over 50 schools across 10 countries
- Each month our website gets over 5,000 unique views from over 25 countries
In the fall of 2017, EYE was featured at the PLTW summit as an example of the important work being done in elementary engineering education. Our unique model of students teaching students combined with a problem solving approach to education continues to inspire the next generation of problem solvers and innovative thinkers in New York’s capitol region and beyond.