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The primary goal of engineering outreach is to attract prospective students to engineering education and the engineering profession. Gifted students, especially those identified as possessing unusually high abilities in science and technology, are especially promising students to attract to careers in engineering. It is critical to cultivate these students' interests and develop their potential for engineering while encouraging them to pursue engineering studies beyond K-12 education. This article presents examples of the successful learning outcomes of an ongoing University-based Electronics Technology Project Study (UETPS) program, a joint endeavor between the IEEE Hong Kong Section, the Education Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR Government, and the Hong Kong Academy of Gifted Education (HKAGE). The UETPS program promotes electrical, electronic, and computer engineering education in Hong Kong and is aimed particularly at gifted students as well as their parents, teachers, and schools. Project applicants underwent formal identification procedures by the Gifted Education Section of the HKSAR Education Bureau and were identified as being gifted in the area of science and technology. Selected participants then participated in one-year research projects in electronics and computer engineering under the guidance of university professors in their respective engineering departments. This program addresses an urgent need of the engineering education sector by reaching out to highly talented K-12 students and their surrounding communities. According to the evaluation results, the UETPS program has significantly enhanced the participating students' interest in engineering as a career choice and encouraged them to pursue undergraduate studies in engineering. This article also discusses lessons learned and proposes strategies for future potential implementers.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2010