COES works with area high schools to improve STEM skills

Oct 27, 2013 | Engineering and Science

Faculty from Louisiana Tech University’s STEM Talent Expansion Program (LaTechSTEP), a partnership between Louisiana Tech’s College of Engineering and Science and eight high schools in Caddo Parish, kicked off this year’s “Tech Step” program Friday in Shreveport.
The program, held at the Louisiana Tech Shreveport Center, is a collaborative partnership with the Caddo Parish School Board and Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City.
COES faculty work with teachers from Caddo Parish during LaTechSTEP 'Tech Step.'

COES faculty work with teachers from Caddo Parish during LaTechSTEP ‘Tech Step.’

LaTechSTEP focuses on professional development of high school STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teachers followed by “Discovery Weekends” where university faculty and high school teachers collaborate as a team to present engineering design projects to high school students.
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Dr. Kelly Crittenden believes this program continues to have a major impact on both teachers and students.  “It is exciting to see students connect the fundamentals that they are learning in their high school classes to real engineering problems.”
The LaTechSTEP projects are designed to reveal fundamental science, math, and engineering concepts through hands-on activities.  Students work in collaborative teams to construct, analyze, and test catapults, and use engineering concepts to accurately predict the range of a projective launched from a catapult, based on just their calculations.
Dr. Heath Tims, associate professor of mechanical engineering, knows that the students are connecting STEM fundamentals to real problems.  “It is eye-opening for students to see their analysis accurately predict the projectile motion, without testing.”
High schools participating in LaTechSTEP were North Caddo, Caddo Magnet, Southwood, Fairpark, Northwood, Captain Shreve, Byrd, and Huntington.  Louisiana Tech faculty participating in the workshop included Tims, Crittenden, Dr. Mikey Swanbom and a number of student interns.
To learn more about LaTechSTEP, visit
Written by Catherine Fraser –