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Infinity Project Expands To Community Colleges

Infinity Project Expands To Community Colleges;  Collin County Community College Is First To Sign Up

February 2003 - The Infinity Project, a program sponsored by the Southern Methodist University School of Engineering and Texas Instruments that introduces students to engineering, has now expanded to community colleges.

Collin County Community College District is the first to embrace the innovative curriculum. Seventeen teachers from CCCCD attended a training program in January and are now teaching it at the college's Frisco campus.

"We are excited to be the first community college to adopt SMU's Infinity curriculum," said Ann Beheler, dean of Engineering Technology at Collin County Community College. "Through this program, students get to experience the thrill of engineering invention prior to really knowing the detailed math behind it. Once they've experienced the delight of creation, they're more likely to be dedicated to learning the math that makes the invention work."

The Infinity Project is designed to help students understand the real-world relevance of engineering, science and math, expose them to high-tech career opportunities and spur interest in pursuing engineering degrees in college. The curriculum and associated technology for the Infinity Project were developed by some of the country's leading college engineering professors, in cooperation with other education experts and high-tech leaders.

Currently, fourteen Texas engineering schools have embraced the curriculum for their first-year students. The Infinity Project also is offered in nearly 60 high schools in 14 states.

Geoffrey Orsak, executive director of the Infinity Project, says community colleges are playing an increasingly critical role in increasing our technology workforce.

"Community colleges can be a very good way for students to get started on careers in engineering," Orsak said. "We are looking forward to working with additional community colleges throughout Texas and the nation to offer the Infinity Project."

The Infinity Project is one of several programs sponsored by The Institute for Engineering Education at SMU, which was created in 2001 to facilitate collaboration among universities, K-12 educational organizations and corporate entities to address the issues related to the shortfall in engineering and technical talent expected in the coming years.