Contact: Ellen Sterner
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7650
or
Kim Quirk
k-quirk@ti.com
Texas Instruments
(214) 480-6878

August 6, 2002

INFINITY PROJECT ACCEPTING GRANT APPLICATIONS FROM TEXAS HIGH SCHOOLS THAT WANT TO TEACH ENGINEERING CURRICULUM

DALLAS (SMU) -- The Infinity Project, a program sponsored by the Southern Methodist University School of Engineering and Texas Instruments that introduces engineering into the high school curriculum, is now accepting grant applications from public high schools in Texas to offer financial assistance to implement the program.

Grant applications may be downloaded from the Infinity Project website at www.infinity-project.org.

The grants can be used to purchase textbooks for the program, acquire the needed technology or provide professional development for teachers. Each grant covers approximately half the cost of implementing the Infinity Project's engineering curriculum. The program will make grants available to 80 qualifying schools over the next year.

The Infinity Grant Program is funded by the office of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, overseen by the Texas Workforce Commission and administered by The Institute for Engineering Education at SMU.

"One barrier to implementing any new education program in public schools in Texas is cost," said Geoffrey Orsak, director of the Infinity Project. "We hope this new grant program will speed the process of making engineering and technology education available to children across the state, particularly from underserved communities."

The Infinity Project is among the first in the country to help school districts incorporate state-of-the-art engineering and advanced technology into standard high school curricula. The program is designed to help students understand the real-world relevance of engineering, science and math, expose them to high-tech career opportunities and spur interest in pursuing engineering degrees in college.

The Infinity Project curriculum is a year-long engineering class that is accredited by the Texas Education Agency and offered to sophomores, juniors or seniors who have completed Algebra II and one science course. The class focuses on the math and science fundamentals of the information revolution and teaches students how engineers create and design the technology around them.

The curriculum and associated technology for the Infinity Project were developed by some of the country's leading college engineering professors, in cooperation with K-12 education experts and high-tech leaders.

Currently, the Infinity Project is offered in schools in 14 states across the nation. To expand the deployment of the program within Texas, a new initiative called the Texas Engineering Education Pipeline has been created by 14 Texas engineering schools. This new organization was chartered to expand the Infinity Project curriculum and professional development for teachers across Texas.

"Our goal is to bring engineering to every high school in Texas," Orsak said.

To be accepted into the Infinity Project, high schools must meet four criteria. They must have committed school administrators, motivated and qualified instructors who are certified in math or science and are comfortable using computer programs, energetic students with the appropriate prerequisites, and sufficient lab equipment and space.

To qualify for the new grant program, high schools must be admitted into the Infinity Project and demonstrate that at least 25 percent of their population is either minorities or disadvantaged students, as determined by federal guidelines.

The Infinity Project is one of several programs sponsored by The Institute for Engineering Education at SMU, which was created in 2001 to facilitate collaboration among universities, K-12 educational organizations and corporate entities to address the issues related to the shortfall in engineering and technical talent expected in the coming years.


-30-