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Engaging the Next Generation of Industrial Engineers

November 12, 2019

Industrial engineering (IE) is one of the most versatile engineering disciplines because of its many problem-solving applications. However, it is also one of the lesser-known engineering fields, because due to the wide variety of applications, as a field it can be a challenge to define. In order to help future generations learn more about IE as a potential career choice, faculty members at the No. 1-ranked H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) have increased their educational outreach efforts to both students and teachers at local high schools.

“We want to give high school students a taste of what it is like to be an industrial engineer so that they consider it when they are thinking about future career options, but we also want to educate teachers on the many IE tools that can be used to enhance their classroom experiences,” said Tuba Ketenci, an academic professional working to expand ISyE’s K-12 outreach efforts. “In addition to the class visits and summer camps we offer, we are now working directly with high schools to give presentations to both students and teachers to help them get a better understanding of IE.”

In October, 35 teachers from the Clayton County Public School's Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) program gathered for a one-day professional development experience at Georgia Tech. The afternoon session, entitled “Computer-based Models for Decision Making,” was led by ISyE Assistant Professor He Wang and introduced participants to computer-based optimization models widely used in diverse industries, including finance, accounting, operations, and marketing.

The session began with a lecture delivered by Wang covering the basic elements of modeling. Then, attendees participated in hands-on activities that they could replicate in their respective classrooms following the session. The goal was to expose the CTAE teachers to recent developments and research within their respective pathways and inspire them to create innovative lessons to teach their students.

“Data analytics skills are highly sought after in today’s digital world,” explained Wang. “The purpose of my lecture was to expose high school teachers to fundamental decision-making tools such as Linear Optimization. I designed the lecture using easily accessible computer tools (Microsoft Excel) and included many real-world examples and hands-on activities. I was glad that most teachers who attended my lecture found the course materials useful for their classes.”

In addition, ISyE alumna Jennifer Wilder (BIE 1978) presented to four classes of high school seniors during Career Day at Drew Charter School, a City of Atlanta Public Charter School that serves the East Lake and Kirkwood communities. The presentation covered industrial engineering as a field, what it is like to be both a woman and a minority engineer and included a short IE-inspired project. ISyE Assistant Professor Debankur Mukherjee was also in attendance for the presentation.

The team is currently developing additional outreach events, including a Day Camp with Industrial Engineers on April 6, 2020 which will give high school students an opportunity to learn more about the real-world applications of industrial and systems engineering. To learn more about ISyE’s K-12 outreach efforts and sign up for events, visit

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ISyE location map

Georgia Tech Supply Chain and
Logistics Institute
H. Milton Stewart School of
Industrial & Systems Engineering
765 Ferst Drive, NW, Suite 228
Atlanta, GA 30332
Phone: 404.894.2343