The Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program

Presenters: Kenneth Hill, Margo Corona De Ley, Suzanne Wasson
The Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program provides highly engaging, age-appropriate hands-on science and engineering activities for Chicago Public School students in grades K–3 and their parents. The program aims to develop student and parent knowledge in these fields, instill a love of learning in the two areas, and provide parents and teachers with tools and experience to prepare the scientists and engineers of tomorrow. The participants will become familiar with 1) the process and elements for creating a successful program based on a long standing program in another city, and 2) the Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program’s design and components.

About the Presenters:
Kenneth Hill, President & CEO, Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program, Inc
Kenneth Hill is currently the president and CEO of the Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program, Inc. Hill worked at MichCon and taught in the Detroit Public School System prior to moving to the Republic of Zambia in Central Africa, where he taught calculus and physics to African high school students. Upon his return to Detroit, he developed a nationally renowned program known as DAPCEP (Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program). In 1976, DAPCEP began with 245 students and now has an enrollment of over 6,000. The mission is to increase the number of underrepresented African American, Latino American, and Native American students who are motivated and prepared to pursue careers in science, mathematics, and engineering. DAPCEP provides instructional and motivational activities to youngsters throughout the school year, on Saturdays, and during the summer. Hill led the development the DAPCEP curriculum and put into place an effective teacher-training component. DAPCEP students continue to win gold ribbon awards in the Metropolitan Detroit Science and Engineering Fair, with forty-four percent of the winners in 2003 compared with ten percent in 1977. Hill was the recipient of the 1990 NAACP Distinguished Service Award, the 1993 Distinguished Service Award from the Detroit Public Schools, the Community Service Award from the DAPCEP Parent Advisory Committee, and 1995 “Best Managed Non-Profit” from Crain’s Detroit’s Business. He was selected Michiganian of the Year in 1999. In 2000, Hill was the recipient of the William L. Dawson award from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. In 2002, he received a community service award from the Ford African Ancestry Network, and in 2004, he received the Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman Award from the Black Slate, Eastside Slate, and the Community Coalition. He is a graduate of Howard University with a BS in Civil Engineering and Wayne State University with an MA in Mathematics Education.

Margo Corona De Ley, Partnership Coordinator, Office of Access and Enrollment, Chicago Public Schools
Margo Corona De Ley has more than twenty years of experience in education as a teacher, curriculum developer, and administrator at the pre-school, elementary, university, and adult levels. Her experience includes her current work in the Office of Access and Enrollment at Chicago Public Schools, and earlier positions at the University of Illinois at the Chicago (UIC) and Urbana-Champaign campuses, Illinois State University, and elementary schools in Champaign, Illinois, and San Bernardino, California. She has worked since 1994 building the capacity of nonprofit organizations and communities as a program officer at The Chicago Community Trust, as a consultant to nonprofits and foundations, and as an online adjunct instructor in UIC’s Certificate in Nonprofit Management program. Over the past four years at Chicago Public Schools, De Ley has forged partnerships and helped raised funds for the district’s STEM elementary program partners, including a three-year National Science Foundation grant for the Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program. De Ley has a BA, MA, and PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Spanish literature.

Suzanne Wasson, K-3 and Middle School Program Administrator, Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program
Suzanne Wasson is a retired Detroit Public Schools science administrator. She is currently a K–12 STEM education consultant specializing in K–3 programs and science fair research project preparation. Prior to her retirement from Detroit Public Schools, Wasson served as K–3 and middle school program administrator for the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program and Math/science administrative unit head at John Burroughs Middle School, and she taught science and pre-engineering at Hally Magnet Middle School. Concurrently, Wasson was an adjunct professor of education at Mercy College of Detroit and University of Detroit Mercy and a consultant for the State of Michigan, Detroit Public Schools, the Connecticut Pre-College Engineering Program, the Engineering Society of Detroit, and the University of Michigan Pre-College Engineering Program. She has developed STEM middle school curricula and coordinated the development and implementation of STEM K–3 programs for the Detroit Area Pre College Engineering Program and the Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program. Wasson is a graduate of Mercy College of Detroit and Wayne State University.