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Educators Push To Expand Curriculum For Underserved Engineering Field

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Virginia lawmakers in the General Assembly are looking to expand the number of schools that provide courses in modeling and simulation engineering — a lucrative and largely underserved field.

Engineers in the field gather information about how things will behave using computer simulations instead of real life testing. The challenge lies in creating accruate models, emulators and simulators to provide engineers with accurate data.

Old Dominion University is one of only three universities nationwide that provides a Modeling and Simulation graduate program, and it's the only one in the nation with an undergraduate program.

John Sokolowski with ODU says these engineers are in high demand, but very few students know it.

"Since we're one of the few areas that have formal degree programs, it's getting that word out and showing them what the marketability is from an employment standpoint. That's really the challenge," says Sokolowski. "It's there, it's really there. If you do a job search on advertised product simulation engineer positions, you'll find thousands of them across the country being advertised."

The Modeling and Simulation Advisory Council is not only trying to expand the curriculum to other state colleges and universities, but it's also trying to spur more student interest.

Sokolowski says it's relatively easy for students who are already engineering majors to switch majors and for those who aren't, depending on the major, the student can enroll in a certificate program, which allows them to minor or obtain certification in M&S and apply it to their professions.

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