Logo: University of Southern California


Corporate Social Responsibility Course to Help Better Engage Engineers in Communities
Media Contact: Amy Blumenthal amyblume@usc.edu
November 02, 2016 —

The University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering and STEM nonprofit Iridescent are partnering to bring a new continuing education course to professional engineers all over the country with the goal to promote engineering and STEM in communities.

The corporate social responsibility course, "Technical Communication for Lay Audiences" is intended to help engineering professionals gain additional communication skills through mentorship, working with diverse audiences, and skill-based volunteerism. Participating engineers can be credited with up to 0.7 USC Continuing Education Units (CEUs), which are earned through leading of a family science session in their local communities, and by successfully passing all program assessments.

"USC Viterbi is actively engaged in “changing the conversation” about engineering, particularly through K-12 and community outreach," said Dean Yannis C. Yortsos. “The partnership with Iridescent, a most active nonprofit in this field, will help us further our goal by equipping professional engineers with better communication skills. Along with parallel K-12 activities, this effort will have to further strengthen the engineering and STEM talent pipeline of our nation.”

The "Technical Communication for Lay Audiences" curriculum was collaboratively designed by Iridescent and USC Viterbi, based on training workshops Iridescent has employed since 2006. The course is self-guided, held online, with applied learning activities to encourage deeper learning and skill development. The course is made up of seven modules including developing a lesson plan for a hands-on engineering program to be delivered to local communities. Topics covered include technical communication, fostering a growth mindset, teaching engineering design process (EDP), motivating learners, mentoring a diverse group of young students and project management skills. Throughout the course, learners will also build their own two-hour volunteer sessions so they can continue outreach after the course concludes.

Iridescent trains scientists and engineers to inspire children and families to learn the engineering process design (EDP) through open-ended, hands-on design challenges. “We are delighted to continue our long-standing partnership with the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, ...a globally recognized school that equips students to tackle the societal challenges of the world” said Tara Chklovski, CEO of Iridescent.

Further information about the course can be found at: http://iridescentlearning.org/mentor-in-your-community/

About Iridescent
Iridescent is a science, engineering and technology education nonprofit, empowering underrepresented children to become self-motivated learners and inventors. Since 2006, over 63,000 children, parents, mentors and educators have participated around the globe in our flagship programs - Curiosity Machine (CM) and Technovation. We have trained over 3500 engineers and scientists to develop hands-on design challenges and/or mentor students and families. CM has one of the largest collections of unique hands-on, open-ended science and engineering design challenges for young people. Iridescent was awarded for Excellence in STEM Mentoring in 2015, a US2020 White House Initiative.

About USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Engineering Studies began at the University of Southern California in 1905. Nearly a century later, in 2004, the Viterbi School of Engineering received a naming gift from alumnus Andrew J. Viterbi, inventor of the Viterbi algorithm, now the key to cell phone technology and numerous data applications. The school’s guiding principles is Engineering +, a coined termed by current dean Yannis C. Yortsos, to use the power of engineering to address the world’s greatest challenges. USC Viterbi is ranked among the top engineering programs in the world and enrolls more than 6,500 undergraduate and graduate students taught by 185 tenured and tenure-track faculty, with 73 endowed chairs and professorships.

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering offers executive and continuing education programs, designed for non-degree seeking professionals. Program participants can take advantage of the flexibility and interactivity offered by the Viterbi School, by taking continuing education courses on USC's campus, completely online via DEN@Viterbi or on-site at an organization’s location.