Howard Unviersity: PCES 2016



The Howard University Pre-college for Engineering Systems, (PCES), which was previously called the Energy Expert Systems Institute, (EESI). PCES is an outreach program residential program for high school students selected from the USA and abroad that lasts for 6 weeks during the summer. The program was changed from EESI to PCES to accommodate STEM topics such as physics, chemistry, mathematics, and fundamentals in electrical engineering and power systems. NASA and the NSF sponsored the EESI program for 11 years. Due to the achievements of the previous program, the NSF recommended expanding the program to multiple locations in the US. However, due to increased cost and increased logistical requirements, the program had to be suspended for several years. But in 2012, the program was revived to combat the dwindling enrollment in several electrical engineering areas including power and energy systems, and to attract top underrepresented groups to STEM. The revised program now expands the scope of the EESI program and is recruiting more participants from other states such as Georgia, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Philadelphia, Seattle and South Carolina. This revised program (PCES) emphasizes the fundamentals of electrical engineering concepts, and sustainable energy with smart grid concepts. Several design projects using simulation tools for power system analysis for power system design are also introduced.

PCES 2016

This year 2016 PCES Residential STEM academy hosted 13 students from different high schools across different states. As usual the goals remain the same, to expose students to engineering, the hands-on approach and help prepare them for college by simulating the college experience and showing them the importance of teamwork, time management, quality and many others.


Accepting the students into the program was a very detailed procedure that considered the students gpa, recommendation letters and essays. Each of the criteria were converted into points and summed up to score the students. For Example This counts as 3.8 /4 points already. The recommendation letter counts as a total of 10 points and there are two recommendation letters whereby the average is taken For the recommendation letter above the students has all ten points. If he had a tick of 4, it’s 0.8, 3 is 0.6 and so on. Then importantly is the essay which although is subjective to the reader’s opinion This way we were able to pick thirteen solid candidates. There was no evaluation of their resume as given they are high school students, clubs and activities tend toward hobbies or interests rather than a career. Therefore, it is not a good indicator or sure one of determining a student. Lastly, regardless of their interests, the program is to provide exposure to engineering.
The timetable is structured uniquely, so as the students arrive to class after breakfast at 9:00 AM, they are given exercises till 9:30 to “warm up” and prepare them for the day.
Thereafter followed a lecture from either Professor Momoh, Professor Bofah or a guest speaker. This lecture typically lasts till 12:00 AM with a twenty-minute break. After the break, the students engage in several hands-on activities. Ranging from tinkering, labs working on electrical components, power observation etc.

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