learn / 2016

The Engineer Factory: Producing engineers in South Los Angeles...one student at a time!

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by The Engineer Factory, a Project of Community Partners

The Engineer Factory is to increase the number of students from underrepresented populations (girls and students of color) that pursue higher education and careers in Engineering. This


Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

UCLA MESA, The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, Los Angeles Southwest College Urban Teacher Fellowship

Please describe your project proposal.

The Engineer Factory, in collaboration with the UCLA MESA Program, Los Angeles Southwest College Urban Teachers Fellowship (LASC UTF) and the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles seek to spark the interest of 4th- 8th grade females and students of color in being engineers. The program includes: consistent fun, hands-on, project-based learning through one-day Pop-Up community workshops; participating in MESA & engineer-based competitions; and providing practical training and resources for teachers.

Which of the learn metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Student education pipeline

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • South LA
  • South Bay
  • County of Los Angeles

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to learn?

The Engineer Factory (EF) will help make LA the best place to learn by supporting and strengthening the engineering education pipeline for populations traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields, particularly females and students of color.

Historically, women, African Americans, and Latinos have been underrepresented in STEM employment. Men are employed in a STEM occupation at twice the rate of women and Blacks and Hispanics have been consistently underrepresented in STEM employment. Engineering is one of the fastest growing industries in this 21st century economy, providing high incomes and quality of life for its practitioners. The Engineer Factory’s goal is to positively impact these disparities with early introduction to the engineer education pipeline via one-day builds for 4th-8th graders at community venues; we hope this leads to longer term projects and competitions; and finally culminate in more structured MESA programs and elective classes offered in Inglewood, South Los Angeles and surrounding neighborhoods.

Pop-Up Community Workshops: The Engineer Factory will conduct at least twelve (12) one day project-based workshops at community sites in South LA and surrounding areas (e.g. schools, faith organizations, Girl & Boy Scouts, afterschool programs, etc.). Participating 4-8 grade students will learn Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) engineering concepts while building fun projects. Examples of projects include, but are not limited to: mouse trap cars, gliders, etc. Many of the workshops for elementary and middle school students will be led by trained high school students. The Engineer Factory plans to have at least 500 students participate in its Pop-Up Workshops in 2017. Since the EF launch in December 2015, 448 students have participated in our Pop-Up Community Workshops. Pre- and post-test found that 71% had increased science knowledge as a result.

Engineer Related Competitions: Engineer firms and aerospace organizations conduct engineer-based competitions throughout the year. However, girls and students from underserved communities are underrepresented. Competitions help students gain skills such as team work, problem-solving, engineer design, testing and modifications and the scientific process. Pop-up workshop sites interested in deepening their investment in STEM will develop teams to enter competitions such as JPL, MATE ROV, Rubes Goldberg, etc. Our goal is to enter at least five (5) teams in competition in 2017. EF’s ROV team won 2nd place in the regional MATE ROV contest in May 2016.

Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA): MESA provides a 40 year evidence-based track record of success. EF will partner with UCLA to create MESA programming in neighborhoods that lack MESA schools, led by the teachers-in-training in LASC’s Urban Teacher Fellowship, a program with the goal of increasing the number of teachers of color. EF’s goal is to enroll at least 30 students in its MESA program.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

Engineer Factory will use the following SMART Objectives to measure project success:

Objective 1: By December 31, 2017, the Engineer Factory will conduct at least twelve Pop-Up Community workshops with at least with at least 450 4th-8th grade participants. Via pre- and post-tests, at least 70% of the participants will demonstrate increased engineer knowledge.

Objective 2: By December 31, 2017 at least five EF supported teams of at least 10 members each will successfully design, build and enter projects into local regional engineer-related competitions.

Objective 3: By December 31, 2017 Engineer Factory will successfully execute an agreement with the UCLA MESA program to be its first non-school-based MESA program based in South Los Angeles. EF will conduct due diligence to meet program training and requirements, partner wih LASC UTF to hire at least two student instructors and recruit at least 30 students to enroll in the EF MESA program. The program will be fully operational in 2017-18 school year.

Objective 4: By December 31, 2017 the Engineer Factory will have strengthened internal capacity by achieving the following: hired at least 1.0 FTE staff; complete comprehensive strategic and fund development plan; secured Network for Good Donor Management software to support fund development activities; and completed the EF Resource website that will link students and educators to various resources.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Staff
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)
  • Education/training
  • Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support