High School Students to Get Engineering Credit from Mason

Posted: February 4, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Rey Banks

The School of Information Technology and Engineering (IT&E) and Chantilly Academy in Fairfax have entered into an agreement to assist economically disadvantaged students get a start at George Mason. The agreement allows students who take either engineering systems or engineering physics at the academy and who enroll at Mason to receive three college credits in Systems 101 (SYST 101), a course that introduces students to the profession of systems engineering. SYST 101 is required for the BS in Systems Engineering and is an elective for the BS in Information Technology degree.

In signing the agreement, Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Dale said the arrangement is an example of programs he plans to promote. “[Fairfax] is seeking more opportunities for high school students to begin their college careers before graduation.”

That is a goal President Alan Merten shares. “[Professors] see the opportunity of getting these kids early. You don’t wait until they get a high school degree. You get them as soon as you can,” he says.

Articulation signing with FCPS
George Mason and Fairfax County Public Schools representatives at the articulation agreement signing. From left, they are: Ariela Sofer, chair, Systems Engineering and Operations Research (SEOR); Douglas Wright, administrator, Chantilly Academy; Lloyd Griffiths, dean, School of Information Technology and Engineering; Martin Rothwell, physics engineering instructor, Chantilly Academy; Kathryn Laskey, associate professor, SEOR; Jack Dale, superintendent, Fairfax County Public Schools; and Alan Merten, president, George Mason.

Potential students also realize the benefits. Chantilly junior Imad Arain is certain he wants to become an engineer and is considering Mason. “Mason is the school that is best in Northern Virginia in engineering. If I have the opportunity to attend, why not?”

The program was spearheaded by Kathryn Laskey, Mason associate professor of systems engineering and operation research, who was impressed by the courses and the engineering lab developed by Chantilly instructor Marty Rothwell. Over the last two years Laskey and George Donohue, director of the Center for Air Transportation Systems Research, have given presentations on systems engineering at the academy. Mason professors helped with Chantilly’s lesson plans, and, starting in the fall, students can earn college credits for those courses.

Mason officials anticipate additional benefits from the relationship with Chantilly. For example, Rothwell, who trained the Mason student team that won first place at the 2003 International Council on Systems Engineering Annual Symposium, has joined the adjunct faculty this semester.

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