TTU at Amarillo Wins America's Promise Leadership Award

by CONSTANCE BARBIAN

April 16, 2010

Congratulations to Texas Tech University at Amarillo (TTU at Amarillo) for their America’s Promise Leadership Award presented by the Amarillo Independent School District (AISD) at their annual Partners in Education Banquet.

Each year AISD employees nominate individuals and businesses in the community who are exemplary in providing assistance and education to the district including their Amarillo Area Center for Advanced Learning (AACAL), a college preparatory program for academically talented and technically oriented students planning to pursue a post-secondary education.

Beginning in 2005, TTU at Amarillo has worked with AACAL high school seniors to offer a Pre-Engineering program allowing internship opportunities at various Amarillo area firms. When AACAL began the engineering program they had just eight students to place. Currently there are more than 40 students participating.

Texas Tech University’s Wallace Johnston serves as chairman of the AACAL Pre-engineering Advisory Board. Johnston states, “Because of our approach to the internship activities and the word-of-mouth interaction of the interns who have worked with us, TTU at Amarillo has become a first-place bid choice among the best-of-the-best students.”

Interns are presented typical engineering problems, activities, research, presentations and applications of their math and CAD design skills. Both practicing and retired engineers, architects, manufacturing technicians and academics are used as an informal Advisory Council to provide perspective, critique and oversight of activities.

Past and present projects have included Wind Energy Turbine Blade design and testing with assistance from Sandia National Labs; Ground Source Heat Pump utilization with the assistance of Lubbock Christian University; design of a middle and high school level analog to the international bi-annual Solar Decathlon Competition; and Assistance with the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering (TAME) with a middle school level First Lego League regional competition for the tri-state area.

Other firms in Amarillo at which interns have been placed include BELL -Textron, ZACHRY Engineering, Veterans Administration Hospital, City Code Enforcement, Architectural firms, Zarges Aluminum Systems, SCOTTCO HVAC, SAGE OIL-VAC and AISD – depending on the interest expressed by the student and the spaces available at the possible mentoring sites.

Texas Tech University remains a first choice among AACAL students with approximately 60 percent of graduates completing the pre-engineering internship immediately entering Texas Tech their freshman year. AACAL is able to award deserving students with scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,000 each.


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