Pumps & Pipes externship shows teachers how to link learning with careers

Mentors for Mentors gives educators direct access to medical, energy, and space professionals

Whether you’re a cardiologist trying to clear a blocked artery or an engineer trying to drill for oil more efficiently, the mechanics and physics at play are the same.

That’s why 15 educators from seven different HISD campuses attended a “Pumps & Pipes” externship recently to learn how to apply concepts from engineering to medicine and vice-versa.

Pumps & Pipes was founded in 2007 to allow medical, energy, and aerospace professionals to learn from on another by comparing notes on common systems and processes. At the “Mentors for Mentors” symposium, they shared insights they had gained with HISD teachers, so that they, in turn, could get students excited about studying science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

“What I really liked was that we talked about the evolution of an idea,” said Adrian Sendejas, a participating English teacher from Furr High School. “The different things that they created here, they all came from a question. Like, ‘How long is this well going to last?’ or ‘How much pressure can a pipe take?’ I think that’s what we really need in the classroom, that sense of wonderment. It gets the teacher excited and the students excited, and shows them, ‘This is why we’re studying this.’”

The 15 teachers came from the DeBakey High School for Health Professions and six other campuses (Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan, M.C. Williams Middle School, and Energy, Furr, Kashmere, and South Early College high schools) that received boosts for their STEM programs through a $12 million Magnet School Assistance Program grant. Participants heard from presenters such as Dr. Bill Kline from ExxonMobil, who discussed the concepts of load and resistance, and Dr. Victor Keasler, who explored infections in circulatory systems.

“The relationship with Pumps & Pipes that began with a few students from DeBakey High School has expanded to six more schools and will impact thousands of students through the mentorships and webcasts that will be produced throughout the school year,” said HISD Grant Development Manager Jennifer Todd.

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