This week, our IHAWKe students were able to visit high school students at a KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) school in Houston,Texas, as part of our Tiny Homes for the Hurricane Homeless project. It was especially meaningful for Rajanee, one of our NSBE students, since she attended a KIPP middle school in Kansas City, Missouri and is now studying mechanical engineering at KU. Rajanee is able to attend KU because of a generous KU engineering alum’s establishment of a KIPP scholarship for our School of Engineering.
Our IHAWKe students were able to share one-on-one and in small groups with the KIPP students, what the experience of studying engineering and computing at KU is like, how they decided to become an engineer, and how they overcame obstacles in their pursuit of engineering. For the KIPP students, it was an unusual opportunity to get to meet and ask questions with someone close to their age about engineering and its benefits.
For our IHAWKe students, it was also an opportunity to share about their Tiny House for the Hurricane Homeless project with the KIPP students. The KIPP students were learning how students from architectural engineering, information technology, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, and other disciplines at KU are working together to imagine and build solutions for those who are impacted by hurricanes. Our IHAWKe students were also able to observe and learn first hand the lasting impact of Hurricane Harvey and gained insight into the trauma and hardships some people are still facing because of it.
One of the KIPP students, I’ll call her Sarah, said she wanted to become an electrical engineer, because her Dad was an electrician. Her story resonated with me because she said there were six kids in her family. My oldest brother was the first in our family to go to college and he paved the way for the rest of us to consider college. My hope is that Sarah will find her path to college as she plans to attend community college first and then pursue her engineering degree. It would be wonderful if we were somehow able to help her with the challenges she faces to becoming an engineer. And we were all pleased that we could help share some of our engineering, computing, and life knowledge with these KIPP students. Because knowledge is power especially when its shared with those who need it most.
Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!