Texas university provides curriculum for local high school students

EL PASO, Texas - Riverside High School students taking engineering courses are part of a one-of-a-kind program with the University of Texas at Austin.

The three-year partnership was created after Riverside's physics teacher Sergio Estrada attended a STEM conference and sought out the pilot program offered by UT-Austin.

Juniors and seniors have the opportunity to dual-enroll and receive the college credit from UT-Austin or several other UT system schools that may be transferable to colleges and universities across the nation, including UTEP.
"The UT College of Engineering is a top 10 engineering school," Estrada said.

UT-Austin and NASA collaborated to create a curriculum with projects similar to those assigned in introductory college courses.

Estrada said the class is aimed at encouraging more students to enter STEM field careers.

Projects include designing and creating model buildings that could withstand earthquakes and building a functioning camera.

Some of the projects are challenging and takes trial and error to complete.

"In engineering, it's not all about making or building things, it's actually doing the planning process," said Michael Nava, a senior at Riverside.

Nearly 40 students take the class and Estrada is hoping to attract more students.

"Sometimes the class is designed to have you fail at first, in order to be better," Estrada said.

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