Engineering associate degree program shows 900 percent enrollment boom: San Jacinto College celebrates National Engineering Week
02.22.2016 | By Andrea Vasquez
In just over a year, San Jacinto College’s associate of science degree in engineering sciences program has seen a 900 percent enrollment increase, and the numbers keep rising.
Originally created for students following a mechanical engineering pathway, students interested in other engineering fields found it difficult to take necessary course work and be prepared to transfer into four-year engineering programs. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) faculty made curriculum adjustments so that all San Jacinto College students pursuing any field of engineering would receive the first two years of engineering prerequisites needed to seamlessly transfer into their desired university programs. The program’s initial enrollment numbers from the South Campus showed only 29 students enrolled in Fall 2014, however nearly 300 students were enrolled in engineering courses at the South Campus for the Spring 2016 semester.
“We expanded the course options for attaining the engineering associate degree,” said Dr. Karen Duston, San Jacinto College engineering professor. “For example, students planning on becoming industrial engineers now have the option to take engineering economics, while students planning on becoming chemical engineers will take more chemistry courses. Students now have course options that allow them to better meet the needs of biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, and industrial engineering as well as mechanical engineering programs. We even have students already enrolled in four-year programs coming here to take our engineering courses due to the small class sizes and one-on-one instruction we provide.”
Despite the downturn the oil and gas industry is currently experiencing, Houston continues to be one of the largest metropolitan areas for engineers. “Engineering continues to be an extremely popular field with a high demand, especially with Houston ranking second in the nation for the number of engineers, it is a great place for someone majoring in engineering to get a job upon graduation,” said Andrew Vines, San Jacinto College department chair for chemistry, engineering, geology, and physics. “The program at San Jacinto College prepares students to transfer into and succeed in any four-year engineering program.”
“Engineering is all about problem solving, and I like to be challenged,” said San Jacinto College engineering student Justin Hogues. “The classes are more affordable, the professors and staff members are always available to help, and the College resources are great. I plan on having a career in chemical engineering, and I feel I’m getting the foundation I need in the engineering program here.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas continues to rank high for engineering employment. In terms of average annual salaries, Houston ranks as the highest paying metro area for civil engineers ($112,480), chemical engineers ($128,380), and petroleum engineers ($168,280). Last year, Forbes.com named the Houston area as the sixth-best city in the United States for engineers, stating that the city has 21 engineers for every 1,000 employees.
This past Fall, San Jacinto College signed an articulation agreement with the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering program, adding a seamless transfer option for associate degree engineering students.
The San Jacinto College South Campus will celebrate National Engineering Week with a two-day event on Feb. 25 and 26. On Feb. 25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., engineers from industry and governmental agencies will be onsite to meet with students, information will be available from various College STEM programs, and engineering students will be doing demonstrations. On Feb. 26, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., an engineering transfer fair will be held with representatives from Lamar University, Texas Tech University, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, Texas A&M at Galveston, the University of Houston, the University of Houston-Clear Lake, and the University of Texas at Tyler along with others will be available for information about their engineering programs. A San Jacinto College engineering program alumnus will be the guest speaker from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Both days of the event are free and open to all students, the general public, and local high schools and will be held in the atrium of the San Jacinto College South Campus Natural Sciences and Health Sciences Building (Building 1), located at 13735 Beamer Road in Houston.
For more information on the San Jacinto College associate of science in engineering science program, visit sanjac.edu/engineering.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.