St. Mary’s Dominican High School is the first Catholic high school in the New Orleans area to have dual enrollment for Introduction to Engineering in the Louisiana University System via University of New Orleans (UNO). The course work addresses civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering, plus naval architecture. Students completing the course will receive three credit hours that are fully transferable to any accredited university.
Introduction to Engineering addresses several college level topics: electrical circuit analysis using multi-mesh theory, alternating current impedances and circuit analysis, shear and bending moment diagrams, internal combustion engine efficiency, and basics of naval architecture, to name a few. Dominican is in its third year of offering an engineering course that averages 31 students each year.
Kenneth Lannes, M.S., Dominican math teacher and Adjunct Professor at UNO, calls the dual enrollment with UNO “a big step for Dominican and shows the commitment and vision of the administration. When I considered a career change to teach full-time, I talked to three other schools in New Orleans about starting an engineering program. Dominican was the only school that did not have an opening, but said, ‘Don’t go anywhere else, we’re going to save a place for you.’ We both had the same vision and it has come to pass.”
UNO’s Assistant Dean of Engineering Kim Jovanovich, MS, PE (Professional Engineer) who holds the Chevron USA Endowed Professorship in Electrical Engineering, co-developed with Lannes the course, Introduction to Engineering. In addition to earning transferrable credit hours, he said dual enrollment orients students to college level coursework, preparing them for their college years.
The gradual increase of high school students taking engineering classes mirrors a national trend, noted Jovanovich. In 2009, only 18 percent of females comprised the total population of bachelor engineering degrees graduates. In 2017, it increased to 21.3 percent and the following years was 21.9 percent.
UNO’s College of Engineering offers a broad selection of degrees through the Ph.D. level. The College of Engineering has four departments: Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. At UNO and across the nation, mechanical engineering is the largest program in engineering schools. Last year, 136,233 bachelor’s degrees in engineering were awarded. Of that total, 31,936 were in mechanical engineering.