At a recent YUHSD board meeting, Tanya Hodges, regional academic coordinator for UA-Yuma, said 60 schools in Arizona are a part of the dual enrollment program.
Hodges said it introduces students to the field of engineering in order to grow the amount of engineers and scientists locally. A large percentage of students come back to Yuma after graduation, she said.
When the program began three years ago, the class was offered only at San Luis High School, with 25 in the program. Last year’s numbers, said Hodges, showed that 17 students at Yuma High School were enrolled in the class, 29 at San Luis High School and 32 at Cibola High School — a total of 78 students.
With the recent inclusion of Gila Ridge High School, Hodges said they hope to have more than 100 YUHSD students enrolled in EGR 102 this year.
While a normal three-credit course through UA is $1,500, said Hodges, Yuma students pay only $450. She added that through grants and scholarships, the cost of the course has been covered for students up to this point.
Another great part of the program? "High school teachers teach it. They are adjunct for us and they have to go to a two-week summer program that we pay for... They work side by side with engineering teachers at UA," Hodges said.
During the year, Hodges said, teachers try to bring in at least one guest speaker or go on one trip each month to introduce students to the varying areas of engineering. The UA has 13 types of engineering majors from aerospace to systems engineering, she said.
"This is a great opportunity for our students ... We know they’re not all necessarily going to go to UA and we know they’re not all going to necessarily go through (Arizona Western College) but what we do know is engineering and these other science fields are a great field to be in."
She estimated that of the students who have participated so far in Yuma, about half decided to pursue engineering in college and the other half decided it wasn’t for them.
"It helps to identify students that have those science and math skills so we can properly place them," she said, noting that students have to test into pre-calculus or above to get into the class.
"It saves them a lot of time, too, and it speeds up that process of getting students to identify what they want to do so they can get through school, because a lot of students kind of float around trying to figure out what they want to do."
Sarah Womer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.