Selah fifth graders part of new statewide Engineering Fellows program


SELAH, Wash.--Many students across the state are part of the launch of a special program focused on engineering education.

Some students in our valley are the first to use these projects from the new Engineering Fellows program.

"We were all like lets do it, let's go for it," said Selah Intermediate School fifth grade science teacher Jennifer Quigley.

Quigley didn't hesitate in being part of Engineering Fellows.

The program, which is in its first of three years, is spearheaded by Washington STEM and Washington MESA.

It's focused on getting hands on engineering experience to fifth graders around the state.

"We have an opportunity to be one of the first groups of people on this side of the state that get to implement these engineering design activities," Quigley said.

As part of Fellows, Quigley and two other teachers at Selah Intermediate collaborate with industry professionals and engineering college students about what projects students can do.

"We talked specifically about equity in engineering in terms of how do we level the playing field for kids," she said.

Tuesday's lesson was about water filtration systems and what's used to help make water safer for animals.

"If we don't clean the water they could easily die and we could probably die because some animals eat fish and we eat the animals that eat fish," said student David Santana.

Students used cotton balls and cheese cloth to get their project water clean.

"If someone litters or something it can go into the water or storm drain and fish or a bird could eat it," said student Erin Ringer.

Quigley's class has two more design projects to do by the end of the year.

Before next year, she'll share what worked and what didn't with those involved with Fellows.

Important discussions that'll help the program expand in the future.

"Even after you've done it, you get to talk about how well it went," she said.

Ten teachers in Yakima County are part of the first year of the Fellows program.

They include teachers from Selah, Yakima, Union Gap, Sunnyside and Mount Adams.

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