About EPICS High School
Purdue University is the founding site and headquarters of the EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) program. Since EPICS was established in 1995, thousands of undergraduates have participated in university programs nationally and internationally delivering projects to local communities effecting countless lives. Since 2006 high school students have also been participating in EPICS completing innovative projects across the country. The EPICS High program continues to grow and give more students this amazing experience of working to design solutions that meet real needs in their communities.
The motivation behind the EPICS High school program is to enable high school students to connect engineering and computing design with people and local community needs. While interest in engineering has been declining, civic engagement among teenagers is near historic highs and many honors diplomas now require service. EPICS High is providing an opportunity to tap into the wave of volunteerism while working to interest more students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. Started in 2006, EPICS received grant money from CNCS (Learn and Serve America) to kick-off the EPICS High school program. EPICS High has since grown quickly. Included in the mission of the EPICS High program is outreach to underrepresented minority populations. EPICS is showing impact in these areas with high percentages of females and minorities, as well as free and reduced lunch students participating in the program.
In EPICS High programs students work in teams and partner with a not-for-profit partner. Students design projects to meet the needs of this community partner enabling them to better serve residents in the local community. Partnerships are key to the EPICS program. Community partners serve as the customers, corporate and higher education partners serve as mentor to the students offering expertise, and additional partners offer financial and/or material support is also needed.
EPICS High continues to create a variety of model programs to replicate throughout the nation. Current models include; urban, suburban, and rural schools, as well as programs after school, within the school day, and as part of an existing course. It is the creation of this variety of program models that enables EPICS High to successfully replicate and expand across the country.
As with the university EPICS program, community partner projects fall in four broad areas of interest. Education: K-12 schools, museums, adult learning programs, after school programs; Access and abilities: adaptive services, clinics for children with disabilities, programs for adults with disabilities, assistive technology; Human Services: homelessness prevention, Habitat for Humanity, family and children agencies, neighborhood revitalization, local government; and Environment: environmental organizations, neighborhood associations, parks & recreation.
A piece of the EPICS High program is summer training for high school teachers and administrators. Training is designed to give teachers and administrators the tools and resources needed to implement, build and sustain EPICS High at their schools. Please contact EPICS High to find out more about a training opportunities and how to participate in the EPICS High program.