Engineering and Computer Science Day returns to OU


Brendan Triola

Ariel Themm, Staff Reporter

The annual Engineering and Computer Science Day returned to Oakland University on Saturday, Jan. 27.

From 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., prospective students were given information on the programs OU has to offer in the School of Engineering and Computer Science (SECS).

Over 200 people helped organize the event. 36 individual tour groups, each with two tour guides, gave those on tours an opportunity to meet with faculty, alumni and current students from the SECS at the time of the provided lunch.

Students and faculty were especially crucial for the event in order to properly inform prospective students of the opportunities they can find at OU. This is one of Oakland’s longest running academic day events, as well as the largest, with at least 25 students in each individual group.

“This event is to bring perspective and bring in new students in order to show what OU has to offer,” Denica Holzworth, the visit coordinator for Undergraduate Admissions said. “These kids are looking for what is the best fit school in order to grow. This event is a great way to highlight the different features offered, like how they will have to work with the College of Arts and Sciences for majors in bioengineering or engineering chemistry.”

Students were led through the different labs in the Engineering Center by their tour guides. The tours were added so that students would be given a more hands-on experience where they could work and see what tools would be available to them.

Each tour group was scheduled to have at least 15 minutes to stop at various locations, with eight to nine stops in total. All of the students were supposed to be divided based on interests so that they can specifically look into what interests them.

“I’ve been doing outreach since I was an undergrad,” said Chris Kobus, an associate professor for the School of Engineering and Computer Science and the Director of Outreach and Recruitment. “I think that outreach is a really important function for a school. This was being done decades before it was called service learning, and students wanted credit for it.”

Over a decade later, Kobus reflected on his pitch for an outreach program.

“It was agreed unofficially by the dean at the time that I would have two years and a very small budget to conduct summer campus tours,” he said. “We had such good comments and reviews that we were able to continue and grow. We went from a couple hundred students to about 1,500. We would have a couple hundred in the fall and winter semesters and now we have almost 5,000. We just blossomed from there.”

The academic days are not only to help promote the university, but also to help the community. The goal of such events is to reach out to students who may feel underrepresented, while also trying to promote more gender diversity, beginning with students as young as third grade and working up to high school.

For more information, visit the SECS website.