STEM – Our Partner Schools

Engineering for a Cause

Three engineers from the United States Naval Academy building a product prototype.

VME partners with a variety of high schools, community colleges, and universities to enhance the learning experience of future engineers. It also offers students a social change aspect to learn how their skills can be used for the greater good.

University of Maryland Capstone. Custom handwriting device for a woman with Multiple Sclerosis. Collage of 6 college-aged engineers who worked on the project next to photo of Woman with Multiple Sclerosis using her handwriting device.

Learning experiences for:

  • Senior Engineering Capstone Projects (one year or one semester)
  • Community College – Intro to Engineering Design Projects (one semester)
  • High School Accelerator Programs – Intro to CAD / Engineering Design (typically one year)  

Teams navigate through all the steps of an engineering process with the support of their instructors and VME professional engineering liaisons. VME assigns a volunteer engineer who offers consultation and resources.  Throughout this process, students are required to give regular presentations to a panel of engineers, thus sharpening their presentation skills and receiving valuable professional feedback.   VME volunteers match projects with schools based on the project requirements, client location, and skill level of students.  The project is incorporated into the curriculum for benchmarks and grading.

C C B C Essex. Intro to Engineering Design Course. The making of a 3 D printed fishing rod holder for a boy with cerebral palsy. Two photos of engineers working on adapted fishing rod.

The process begins by meeting with the engineering instructor(s) at a school to design a special project to help someone with a disability and to fit the project into the school’s curriculum. 

Students completing a college level project become part of our VME Alumni – a growing number of engineers & OTs who often continue volunteering with us.

Photo collage from Howard Community College. Intro to Engineering Design Course. Brayden's Custom Portable Restroom Chair. Photo one: Brayden playing with a video device in his chair. Photo 2: Two engineers smiling with Brayden. Photo Three: Back of Brayden's portable restroom chair.

Our method serves to:

  1. Inspire students to learn and use engineering skills to benefit real people and their community.
  2. Deliver custom solutions to adults and children with disabilities when nothing else works.
  3. Increase student comfort level with navigating the competing demands of a real life client and engineering peer review requirements. 
Morgan State University Capstone. Specialized Sensory Bike with music. Photo collage of two engineers who built the bicycle and the bicycle in use.

Schools Partnerships

  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers – JHU Chapter
  • CCBC Essex campus (Intro to Eng Design)
  • CCBC Catonsville campus (Intro to Eng Design)
  • College Park Academy (HS)
  • George Washington University
  • Harford Community College (Intro to Eng Design)
  • Howard Community College (Intro to Eng Design)
  • INNOW – Youth Leadership Program (YLF) for Teens with Disabilities (Annual One-day STEM Workshop)
  • Morgan State University – Electrical Engineering
  • Northrop E-Week High School Program
  • Stevenson University (Fashion Design for Disabled Individuals)
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Towson University (OT Department)
  • UMBC (Capstone)
  • United States Naval Academy (Capstone)
  • University of Maryland – College Park (Capstone)
Photo collage of UMBC Capstone, Janee's Structurally, Re-designed Bike Trailer. Photo one: Four young engineers outdoors with their arms around each other smiling. Photo two: Janee sitting comfortably in her bike trailer.

Contact: vme@imagemd.org about forming a partnership.

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