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UALR Recruiting the Engineers of the Future

As more and more high tech jobs move into Arkansas, colleges are looking to mentor potential engineering and IT students at younger ages.
As more and more high tech jobs move into Arkansas, colleges are looking to mentor potential engineering and IT students at younger ages. At UALR that includes hosting several high school students for a 3 week research program. It gives them hands-on experience before graduating high school.

Andrew Seel, 17, is a senior at the Arkansas School for Math, Science, and Arts in Hot Springs. "I'm going to major in electrical engineering and make the microchips of the future," he says. And Andrew is well on his way. Not even out of high school and he's presenting a college research project at UALR.

Andrew's project involves using robots to track people or objects, not to mention keep people safe. So how is Andrew's robotic project relevant in the real world? This robot could go into a dangerous building to scope out any potential danger before a human goes in like maybe a police officer.

"These robots are usually equipped with wireless, so they could drive robot around in a unknown location and figure out where things are before they risk a human life,” Andrew said.

With Hewlett Packard setting up shop in Conway creating 1200 jobs, the high tech field has never looked brighter, so UALR's Computer Science Department is starting recruitment early.

"By going after students in the 8th and 9th grades and working with them, we are able to mentor them to pick the right set of classes to participate and succeed in this kind of discipline,” said Dr. Srini Ramaswamy.

Andrew hopes that after he graduates from high school and then college, companies like HP will have expanded to include a robotics manufacturing plant, that way he can stay in the Natural State.

Each high school student was mentored by various UALR faculty members of the College of Engineering and Information Technology.

This is the third year for the 3 week research program, which free to the students.  Hewlett Packard plans to start hiring sometime late next year.
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