Back to Home Page
College Home
University Home
Past Issues
Contact the Editor
Signatures Cover
Download PDF of this Issue
Seeing the Big Picture
Talking Points
Taking Note
Making the Grade
Sharing Perspectives
Reaching Out
Staying in Touch

Although summer programs introducing high school students to engineering have existed at Notre Dame since 1976, the current Introduction to Engineering Program (IEP) has been around only since 1998. The idea that started as a way to attract more women to engineering by inviting them to a three-week program in the summer between their junior and senior years in high school has blossomed ... more like exploded ... into a summer experience where high school students apply online and may end up on a waiting list 100 persons long.

Ramzi Bualuan, director of the IEP, says that the overall goal of the program is the same: to make students of this age (rising seniors in high school who excel in math and the sciences) aware of what engineering is and the multitude of career options available as an engineer. IEP also gives the students a taste of college life ... what it is like to be away from home, manage their own time and money, and meet people from around the country. “I’ve seen teens really get excited about the ways in which they can impact humanity through engineering,” says Bualuan. “They actually make the decision to pursue engineering because of this program. But even if they find out engineering is not for them, the program is a success.”

According to Bualuan, approximately 75 percent of the students who attend the program apply to Notre Dame. A third of those students are admitted, and almost half of those who accept and enter the University in the fall continue in engineering. In fact, 18 IEP alumni (the 2002 summer program) graduated from the University in May 2007.

Among the many unique aspects of the program is the online scrapbook that students can share with their parents and friends. It’s available at Students wishing to apply for the 2008 program may do so online at



From basic engineering concepts, design, and computer use to industry field trips and a taste of college life, high school students have been able to explore engineering during a three-week summer course since 1976. Throughout the years with the help of dedicated faculty, such as Raymond Brach, now a professor emeritus of aerospace and mechanical engineering, and Stuart McComas, also professor emeritus of aerospace and mechanical engineering, the fledgling program has continued to grow.