STEP experience gives rising high school seniors glimpse at Purdue Engineering

Nearly 200 rising high school seniors from 24 states were on Purdue University's campus this summer for the Seminar for Top Engineering Prospects.
Student in challenge lab
Among the activities for students participating in Seminar for Top Engineering Prospects (STEP) were challenge labs that had them working on design teams. 

One hundred ninety students from 24 states just completed an opportunity to test drive the Purdue University engineering experience. 

For three weeks in July, rising high school seniors visited the West Lafayette campus for a weeklong residential program, Seminar for Top Engineering Prospects (STEP). STEP, which returned to campus this summer for the first time since the pandemic, stretched students academically, developmentally and interpersonally.  

The program represents far more than an exceptional classroom experience: It’s an opportunity for students to explore the world of engineering through the lens of the College of Engineering Honors & Goss Scholars Program and glimpse what college might look like at Purdue University.  

“I learned so much and had the opportunity to experience what it's like to be an engineering student at Purdue,” said a participant who traveled from California to attend one of the three weeklong sessions. “I can’t wait to apply this fall and I hope I get to come back to campus as a student next year.”  

The comprehensive program incorporated teaming, engineering design, physics, CAD and 3-D printing, computer programming and Arduino applications, mechatronics, robotics, data analysis, documentation and communication. Design challenge experiences, as well as the rigor of the content covered, make STEP a microcosm of what first-year engineering honors students experience in their FYE honors design and physical science course sequence. 

All lectures, design challenges, outside the classroom activities and residential experiences were led by current Purdue student interns who have completed at least their first year of the Engineering Honors & Goss Scholars curriculum. STEP participants lived in university residences, enjoyed meals in the dining courts, engaged in Purdue traditions such as fountain runs, watched a movie on Slayter Hill, made trips to the France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center and took formal tours of engineering disciplines and area industry partners and informal tours of campus.