E3: Experiential Engineering Education

The E3 Engineering Institute is one of our newest academic programs that began in the fall of 2013. The program is designed to meet the needs of students with interest and aptitude for science, technology, mathematics and their application to fields of engineering. The purpose is to intellectually engage and challenge students with a rigorous curriculum that includes coursework focused on engineering as well as expose them to the field of engineering through program components occurring outside the classroom.


Program components consist of enrichment activities such as seminars, field trips and topical speakers. In addition, students will broaden their engineering experience by developing a relationship with a professional adult mentor and through a job shadow or field-experience practicum. The Institute operates within a three-year cohort model, open for students to apply for admission prior to their sophomore year. 


Engineering Coursework
E3 students will take three semesters of engineering specific coursework focusing on introducing students to the fundamentals of engineering: what engineering is and what engineers do, the variety of types of engineering, the engineering design process, computer-aided-design (CAD), and production / manufacturing aspects of engineering. Higher-level courses will apply those fundamentals to certain projects related to a variety of specific engineering fields including the capstone course, where teams of students will work on one engineering project from conception to presentation.

In addition to their engineering coursework, students participating in the Institute will take a rigorous college-prep curriculum at Totino-Grace. A strong foundation in mathematics and science will be emphasized, as well as critical thinking, technical writing, public speaking and presentation, and collaborative, project-based learning skills - important tools to master for success in any career, particularly engineering. As part of their Totino-Grace college preparatory curriculum and the cohort, four years of mathematics and science are required as well as at least two years of a World Language. E3 students are also encouraged to take CAD, woods and metals and/or visual arts coursework.

"The E3 program taught me how to apply my knowledge of math and science to solve real world problems and challenged me to come up with innovative solutions. I feel I am better prepared for college because of my coursework, experiences and exposure to the variety of engineering fields."  -Caitlyn '16

Capstone Project
During their senior year, students will take an engineering project from conception to completion and present their project to a larger audience. This will entail conceptualizing, designing, fabricating, testing and presenting a functional product or system. 

Seminars and Enrichment Activities
Engineering Institute students will attend a number of outings, tours and guest seminars each year of the program. Events will be coordinated by Totino-Grace and may include attending a lecture or presentation given by a prominent professional in the engineering field, visiting a worksite, lab or manufacturer or other engineering-related activities. These enrichment activities will be geared toward students' areas of interest as well as the areas of expertise of the professionals.

"The experiences in and out of the classroom have impacted me greatly by showing me different fields of engineering. Our summer program at St. Thomas, our tour of Target's corporate offices and visiting the Vikings Stadium increased my awareness and interest. The engineers we have met provided us with good advice for college and future careers."  -Connor '16

Job Shadow / Field-Experience Practicum
Students will be required to take on a job shadow or field-experience practicum following their junior year. The goal is for students to gain significant experience working or observing first-hand with a professional in an engineering field.

Global Component
E3 students will communicate and collaborate with engineers and / or engineering students from other countries or cultures. Collaboration may involve engineering problems, discussion of engineering topics, and / or collaborating on engineering projects.

Engineering Mentorship
Students participating in the Engineering Institute will be assigned a mentor from a specific engineering field. The goal of the mentoring relationship is to give students an authentic view of the engineering profession, to make them aware of the personal and interpersonal skills required to succeed, and to provide connections with professionals and business people in our community. Students will connect with their mentor on several occasions during the year and be expected to communicate with them by phone and email on a regular basis.

"I find it exciting to see students learning the skills that I will be looking for in the engineers that I will hire in the future! The program promotes inquiry, problem solving, and the development of creative skills, which are all prerequisites for future engineers to use their tools successfully. I am proud to be a supporter of this program." -Tom KraMer, President, Managing Principal of Kablooe Design 

The Engineering Program continues to look for professionals to serve as mentors to the growing number of E3 participants. If you, a colleague or associate would be interested in learning more about this rewarding opportunity, visit our website or contact one of the program directors.  

For Additional Information

E3 Program Directors:

E3 Website:

Mentor Opportunities: 
Click HERE to learn more about serving as an Engineering Institute Mentor
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Totino-Grace High School
1350 Gardena Avenue NE
Fridley, MN 55432