The Michigan Engineering Zone: Encouraging STEM Among Detroit Youth
The MEZ shares its home with the DPS FIRST Robotics Teams. Over the course of a six-week program, participants have access to state-of-the-art technology, such as computer labs complete with CAD software, a machine shop, robot testing area, and collaborative workstations. Once the program is completed and their robots are ready, the teams then go on to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition. Participants in the competition are eligible to receive scholarships from approximately 200 donors, totalling $50 million in available scholarships.
In 2017, approximately 275 students from 18 different Detroit high schools signed up for the robotics program. The University of Michigan College of Engineering provides the equipment and mentorship necessary to assist students in the creation of robots and other technologies. Through hands-on technical training, MEZ teaches students valuable knowledge and skills to encourage a future career in STEM.
Aside from education and training, MEZ also offers tailored information sessions for students and their parents. The staff addresses college opportunities (emphasizing the pursuit of science and engineering degrees), financial aid and scholarships, and the college application process. The resources provided by this institution encourage Detroit students to become leaders in their communities, inspiring them to create positive change through science and technology.