Resources - Pre-College

The Pre-College Resources compiled below include resources that:

     Promote engineering as a career to pre-college youth.

     Aid pre-college youth already interested in engineering.

     Support integration of engineering concepts/curricula  into K-12 education.

Students (and their parents) will find the following categories of particular interest:

Pre-College Student-Focused Websites/Newsletters/Guides – A great place to start your journey!

General Interest Websites – More general info on engineering, its accomplishments and practitioners!

Introductory Summer Camps/Programs for Youth (opens a new window) – Great “hands-on,” academic-oriented opportunities to explore what engineering is all about during the summer!
For the latest listings, visit the Engineering Education Service Center's Engineering Camps webpage.

National Competitions for Pre-College Youth – A variety of competitions, with something to match everyone’s interest – and great prizes to boot in many cases!

College Education – DedicatedEngineers maintains a trio of websites to inform students of accredited programs available nationally not only in engineering, but also engineering technology and computer science as well!

Engineering Societies (Overarching, Discipline/Field-Specific, and Women/Minority-Focused) (opens a new window) – A good place to explore the different engineering disciplines and fields that employ engineers; the listing also includes women/minority-focused societies that can be a great help in your engineering journey!

Today's Engineering Leaders (COMING SOON) - Check out leading real-life engineers - their backgrounds and accomplishments, along with sage advice they offer to future engineers.

For teachers and counselors, in addition to the above, the following categories will also be of particular interest:

Dedicated Organizations – Orgs focused just on engineering-related K-12 education!

Information Clearinghouses – Resources, resources, and more resources!

National Campaigns/Events – Tap into National Engineers Week!

K-12 Teacher Training – Specific opportunities for teachers to “take the next step” and integrate engineering into their classrooms!

Pre-College Student-Focused Websites/Newsletters/Guides:

Answering Your Common Questions About Engineering And Engineers: DedicatedEngineers own student handout  that answers the questions most commonly raised by pre-college students. Check it out!

Discover Engineering Online: A website seeking to spark interest in youth to engineering. Put forth as part of National Engineers Week.

Engineer Girl!: A website seeking to spark young women’s interest in engineering as a career. Put forth by the National Academy of Engineers.

Engineering, Go For It! A 60-page guide designed to attract high school students to engineering careers. $3. Offered by the American Society for Engineering Education.

Engineering: Your Future: A website seeking to serve as a guide/resource for students interested in engineering or engineering technology. Offers a multitude of relevant information, particularly for students (and others) not very familiar with engineering. The website is put forth by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), the professional society for engineering educators (i.e., college professors).

Fire Protection Engineering: A website promoting fire protection engineering careers, offering information and resources primarily aimed at pre-college students. Put forth by the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.

Guide Me NACME: A website primarily serving as a guide/resource for students interested in engineering. Also has separate sections for both parents and educators. While put forth by the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), it is not minority-focused in its content.

Manufacturing is Cool: A website promoting manufacturing engineering careers, offering information and resources aimed at pre-college students, along with parents, teachers and guidance counselors. Put forth by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

Materials Science and Engineering Career Resource Center: Career and information center for those interested in potentially pursuing a career in material science and engineering. Put forth by The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS).

NerdGirls: Breaking the Stigmas and Stereotypes of Women in Engineering: Website seeking to encourage young women to pursue engineering and science careers by showcasing a team of women engineering students at Tufts University building and demonstrating a solar-powered car.

NSBE Pre-College Initiative Webpage: Resources-oriented website put forth by the National Society of Black Engineers in support of its Pre-College Initiative which is aimed at black students in grades 6-12.

Occupational Outlook Handbook: A nationally recognized source of career information issued every two years by the US Dept of Labor. The Handbook describes what workers do on the job, working conditions, the training and education needed, earnings, and expected job prospects in a wide range of occupations, including Engineering and 14 identified engineering disciplines. [Note: Informative, but as a government publication, it is rather dryly written.]

The Pre-Engineering Times: A free monthly “e-newsletter” (i.e., sent via email) containing relevant information aimed at pre-college youth. Each month’s issue focuses on a particular field of engineering. The past year’s worth of issues is contained on the website. Offered by the Engineering Education Support Center, in conjunction with the Junior Engineering Technical Society.

Progressive Engineer: Online magazine and information source covering all disciplines of engineering in the continental U.S. The magazine features profiles of engineers and companies and stories on projects that detail the accomplishments of engineers from a human perspective in an easy-to-read style.

Sloan Career Cornerstone Center: Website serving as a resource center for those interested in or actively pursuing careers in engineering, mathematics, information technology, and the physical sciences.  Offers education, networking, job-hunting, and career planning resources aimed at both high school and college students, along with parents, teachers and guidance counselors. It is a web-based version of the Sloan Career Cornerstone Series, a popular set of CD-ROMs and videotapes that revolve around personal interviews with over 400 individuals offering candid insight into their career paths. Put forth by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Those Amazing Engineers: A 28-page booklet designed to introduce to kids ages 8-12 the scope and challenges of the engineering profession, focusing on providing examples of what engineers deign and build. Meant for bulk distribution, but single copies can be ordered for about $6.Put forth by Trilogy Publications LLC, a small publisher seeking to produce such engineering awareness publications aimed at youth.

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General Interest Websites:

A Sightseers Guide To Engineering: A website that seeks to spotlight how engineers improve lives by identifying prominent “sights” (museums, dams, bridges, industrial facilities, etc.) nationwide one can visit in person or over the Internet. A one-page summary of each “sight” is provided, along with a link to that sight’s own webpage to obtain further information. The website is put forth by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).

Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century: A website listing and describing the top 20 engineering achievements of the 20th century as determined through a rigorous selection process led by the National Academy of Engineering. For each achievement, a brief introduction, detailed history and associated timeline are presented on the website.

Monuments of the Millennium: A website highlighting the 10 greatest civil engineering achievements of the 20thg century, with a specific project (“monument”) selected to represent each achievement. A short description of each monument is given, with a series of weblinks provided to access further information.

“Extreme Engineering” TV Series and Website: Extreme Engineering is a Discovery Channel television series that explores ten of the most ambitious engineering projects ever undertaken. The associated website provides virtual interactive tours of each of the 10 projects documented in the series.

“Engineering the Impossible” Website: In association with its Extreme Engineering TV series (see above), the Discovery Channel identified three “impossible” projects: 1) the Millennium Tower (a skyscraper twice the size of the Empire State Building, 2) the Gibraltar Bridge (uniting Europe and Africa) and 3) the Freedom Ship (the world's first floating city) and explored how they might actually be accomplished. The results are presented on the website, including via video clips visualizing the final product.

“Building Big” TV Series and Website: Building Big™ a five-part PBS television series that explores large structures (bridges, domes, skyscrapers, dams, and tunnels) and what it takes to build them. The associated website explores the series further, including providing a series of hands-on activities. The overall project was conducted in association with the American Society of Civil Engineers.

"How Stuff Works" Website: “How Stuff Works” is a series (four so far) of popular books that reveal how everyday items work. The website brings that material into an online setting, covering 10 different general areas (science, computer, electronics, etc.). A CD is also offered for sale that captures the entire website, allowing access without having to be connected to the Internet.

How Everyday Things Are Made: A Stanford University website for kids and adults providing almost 4 hours of manufacturing video showing how various items are made, covering over 40 different products and manufacturing processes - a virtual factory tour. Also provides supplemental materials for further info.

Science and Technology Museums: An Internet portal to the websites of 15 leading science and technology museums worldwide.

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Introductory Summer Camps/Programs for Pre-College Youth (opens a new window)

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National Competitions for Pre-College Youth:

Christopher Columbus Awards: Middle school-based teams use science and technology to solve real-world community problems. Eight finalist teams receive all-expense week-long trips to Walt Disney World, while the winner receives a $25,000 community grant to bring their idea to light. Sponsored by two independent federal government agencies – the National Science Foundation and the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation.

eCYBERMISSION: A web-based science, math and technology competition for 6th through 9th grade teams, which compete for regional and national awards on a grade-level basis. Teams select a “mission challenge” of their choosing that deals with a challenging community issue and propose a solution to the problem. Winning team members from each grade-level each receive a $5,000 Savings Bond. Sponsored by the US Army.

ExploraVision: A K-12 competition where small teams (of 2-4 students) explore an existing technology and project how it might work in the future. The competition is divided into four school grade categories (K-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12). 24 regional winners create a web site for their future technology, along with a prototype of their future technology. Four first-place teams each win a $10,000 Savings Bond, while four second-place teams each win a $5,000 bond. Sponsored by the National Science Teachers Association and Toshiba Corporation.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competitions: Two separate team-based robotics competitions: 1) High School Competition (FIRST Robotics): Teams of high school students and their mentors seek to solve a common problem by building robotic devices using a standard "kit of parts" and a common set of rules; a multinational competition that involves over 800 teams competing for some $3 million in scholarships and 2) Jr. High Competition (FIRST LEGO League): Parallels the High School Competition, except that teams use LEGOs  to build their robotic devices; open to students aged 9-14; emphasizes participation over competition.

Future City Competition: Middle school-based teams design (using SimCity software) and build physical models of their vision of a future city. Sponsored by National Engineers Week, a program of the National Society of Professional Engineers.

Intel International Science and Engineering Fair: World’s largest pre-college science fair. Annually, over one million students in grades 9-12 compete in regional science fairs and nearly 500 affiliated fairs held around the world. From that preliminary competition, some 1,200 students from 40+ countries compete for over $3 million in scholarships and prizes in 14 scientific categories (including “Engineering”) and a team project category. Sponsored by Intel Corporation.

Intel Science Talent Search: National pre-college science contest open to U.S. high school seniors. Each year, almost 2000 students enter the competition, with 300 semi-finalists initially selected, followed by selection of 40 finalists who compete for a top prize of a $100,000 college scholarship. A total of $1.25 million in scholarships and prizes are awarded overall. Sponsored by Intel Corporation.

Internet Science & Technology Fair: Elementary/middle/HS-based teams conduct research to apply National Critical Technologies (7 technologies deemed vital to the US economy and security) to solve real-world problems, posting their results on the web for evaluation. Sponsored by Dept of Commerce and coordinated through the Univ of Central Florida’s College of Engineering and Computer Science.

InvenTeams: Nationwide initiative that provides grant support (up to $10,000) to high school teams – composed of students, their teachers, and mentors from industry – that are formed for the purpose on inventing something useful that solves a problem they’ve identified. Put forth by the Lemelson Foundation in conjunction with MIT’s School of Engineering.

Leonardo da Vinci Competition: Canadian-based national academic competition open to Canadian students (mainly HS seniors) interested in science and engineering; participants take an exam that requires them to apply and integrate their knowledge of physics, chemistry and mathematics to solve engineering oriented problems; over $50,000 in scholarships and cash prizes is awarded each year. Coordinated through the Univ of Toronto.

National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair: Annual fair for American Indian students in the 5th-12th grades. Winners receive cash prizes and scholarships. Run by the American Indian Science & Engineering Society, the fair is an affiliate of the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF).

National Engineering Design Challenge: HS-based team competition to design, build and demo a specified new product to meet a societal need (e.g., airport security inspection-friendly luggage sets). Regional winners compete at a national competition held at the National Academy of Engineering in Washington, DC. Run by the Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS).

National Junior Solar Sprint: Middle/junior high school-based teams design, build and race model solar-powered cars. The competition is state/region-based only (i.e., no national competition is conducted). Coordinated through the National Renewable Energy Lab of the US Dept of Energy.

National PCI Science Fair: Annual science and engineering fair for black middle and high school students, run by the National Society of Black Engineers. Students first participate in regional competitions, with the top performers invited to the national competition held during the annual NSBE National Pre-College Initiative (PCI) Conference.

Rube Goldberg Machine Contests: National contests bringing the ideas of artist Rube Goldberg's "Invention" cartoons to life.  Groups are given an elementary challenge “(for example, putting toothpaste on a toothbrush), but instead of just "solving" the problem, students have to make the solution as complicated and as convoluted as possible. The National College Competition is held at Purdue University while the National High School Competition is hosted by the Milwaukee Colleges of Engineering Partnership.

Science & Engineering Fairs: An extensive set of weblinks to identified science and engineering fairs conducted at the national/international, state, regional, local, and "virtual" levels are conveniently given on this WWW Virtual Library webpage.

Science Olympiad: Academic interscholastic competitions that consist of a series of individual and team events, following the format of popular board games, TV shows and athletic games. Competitions are held in four divisions (K-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12) with individual events falling under one of three established broad areas of science education – Concepts and Knowledge, Processes and Thinking Skills, and Application and Technology, with the latter bringing in engineering concepts. Competitions are held on intramural, district, regional, state and national levels.

Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science & Technology: Prestigious science research competition open to high school students. Students submit research reports either individually or in teams of two or three members. Regional winners (one individual and one team) receive scholarships and invitations to advance to the National Competition at the AAAS in Washington, D.C. The top individual and team winners nationally receive additional scholarships of $100,000. Runners up receive scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. Administered by The College Board and funded by the Siemens Foundation.

Solar BikeRayce USA: Annual closed-course races of bikes powered either partially or entirely by solar power (and with or without pedals). Races conducted in three categories (High School; Adult; Senior) and four classes of bikes. Held in May in Topeka, Kansas.

Stockholm Junior Water Prize: Prestigious international youth award for a selected high school water science research project. Completed projects should be aimed at improving the quality of life through improvement of water quality, water resources management, water protection or water and wastewater treatment. The U.S. national winner receives $2,500 and a five-day, all expense paid trip to Stockholm, Sweden to compete in the international finals, the winner of which receives $5,000 and a special blue crystal sculpture in the shape of a water droplet. The US competition is run by the Water Environment Federation, a professional society.

Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science (TEAMS): An annual one-day, two-part academic team event that consists of an open-book, open-discussion exam taken by teams of four-to-eight high school students. Competitions are held in February/March at over 100 locations nationwide. Run by the Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS).

ThinkQuest: International competition where student teams create educational websites based on established topic categories. Prizes are awarded in each of the three divisions (12 and under, 15 and under, 19 and under) along with an overall Best of Topic prize. Prize-winning entries along with other selected entries are placed in the ThinkQuest online library. Competitions are run semi-annually targeting different topic categories. Sponsored by Oracle Corporation.

Try Math-a-Lon: A National Society of Black Engineers-sponsored mathematics and engineering competition between teams composed of high school students from NSBE’s six regions. The competition includes an individual math assessment test, a team engineering problem, and a Jeopardy-style quiz bowl using math, engineering, and black history questions.

The Vinny Awards: An international team contest to produce a one minute video that explains to 4th graders how Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Mathematics (STEM) is being used or can be used to help solve a global problem (for example, pollution or food distribution). Separate competitions are held for elementary, middle and high school students. Sponsored by IEEE, NASA and Christopher Newport University; funded by the IEEE Foundation. Named after Leonardo da Vinci.

West Point Bridge Design Contest: National design competition aimed at students ages 13 through 12th grade. Designing is done using a specialized software program provided free to contestants. Students can compete individuals or in teams of two; top prize is a $15,000 scholarship. Developed by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Young Scientists Challenge (Discovery Channel) – National science contest for middle school students (grades 5 through 8). Students qualify through participation in a YSC-affiliated local or regional science fair, with some 6000 projects initially qualifying. 400 semifinalists are then chosen, with 40 finalists subsequently selected to compete for over $44,000 in scholarships.

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College Education:

A Brief Guide to Engineering Majors/Disciplines - A DedicatedEngineers handout that provides a brief summary description of each of the common - and some not-so-common - engineering majors offered by schools.

A Quick Guide to Colleges Offering Engineering Degrees - A DedicatedEngineers handout that provides a summary listing (by state) of all U.S. colleges offering accredited bachelor's degrees in engineering, noting the specific engineering majors offered by each school. Check it out!

The Online Guide to Engineering Colleges - A DedicatedEngineers website that serves as an online guide to all U.S. colleges offering accredited undergraduate degree programs in engineering. The site also provides relevant information and resources on engineering studies and careers.

The Online Guide to Engineering Technology Colleges - A DedicatedEngineers website that serves as an online guide to all U.S. colleges offering accredited degree programs in engineering technology. The site also provides relevant information and resources on engineering technology studies and careers.

 The Online Guide to Computer Science Colleges - A DedicatedEngineers website that serves as an online guide to U.S. colleges offering accredited degree programs in computer science and related computing disciplines. The site also provides relevant information and resources on computer science studies and careers.


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Engineering Societies (Overall, Discipline/Field-Specific, and Women/Minority-Focused) (opens a new window)


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Dedicated Organizations:

 Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS): A non-profit org (founded in 1950) that promotes engineering careers to junior high and high school students, parents and educators. JETS provides relevant publications and other resources aimed at students, parents, and teachers and operates three programs:

1) National Engineering Aptitude Search+ (NEAS+): A self-administered academic survey that enables individual students to determine their current level of preparation in "engineering basic skills subjects" (namely, applied mathematics, science, and reasoning);

2) Test of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science (TEAMS): An annual one-day, two-part competition that consists of an open-book, open-discussion exam taken by teams of four-to-eight high school students;

3) Uninitiates' Introduction to Engineering (UNITE): A US Army-sponsored summer school aimed at women and minorities interested in science and engineering.

[NOTE: Although called a "society," JETS is not a member-based organization.]

Center for Engineering Educational Outreach (CEEO):  A Tufts University-based center dedicated to bringing engineering into the K-12 classroom. The CEEO coordinates engineering and education experts with teachers to design curricula incorporating engineering concepts and activities. Works with teachers nationwide, while being particularly focused on Massachusetts schools, helping them meet Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Frameworks recently adopted in that state.

Future Scientists and Engineers of America: A non-profit organization which provides project materials, documentation and workshop training to establish after-school technology clubs in K-12 schools. Current has 200 active clubs in existence, 140 of which are located in California.

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Information Clearinghouses:

ASEE Engineering K-12 Center: An Internet-based clearinghouse providing relevant resources in support of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in K-12 schools. Offers resources of interest to pre-college students as well as educators. The heart of the website is its Database Search, which permits searching for specific resources/programs by 10 separate criteria.  The website is put forth by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), the professional society for engineering educators (i.e., college professors).

Best Practices in High School Engineering: An American Society of Mechanical Engineers project to to identify, select, and disseminate exemplary pre-engineering or engineering design and product realization practices in high school curricula. Practices sought and provided include coursework, lesson plans, project activities, and technical curriculum. Provided practices include long-term (one year) and medium term (15 days or less).

Engineering Education Service Center (EESC) Website: A website offering a variety of resources aimed at promoting an engineering career to pre-college youth. The offered resources are primarily of interest to pre-college students. NOTE: The EESC itself is a for-profit company that provides consulting, publications and workshops and presentations to help promote engineering careers to pre-college youth.

PreK-12 Engineering Website: A website offering free resources for educators and administrators who are looking to integrate engineering concepts and activities into Pre-K through 12th grade classrooms. The site currently targets Massachusetts schools, as it was established to help meet Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Frameworks recently adopted in that state; however, many of the resources provided are universally applicable to any school.

Women In Engineering Organization (WIEO) Website: An Internet-based clearinghouse designed to act as a unifying resource about women in engineering and associated programs nationwide. Targets audiences from young girls through working professionals, as well as K-12 teachers, guidance counselors and college faculty. Put forth in partnership by Tufts University, Women in Engineering Programs and Advocates Network (WEPAN), and the Society of Women Engineers.


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National Campaigns/Events:

Girls Go Tech: A Girl Scouts initiative designed to encourage girls to consider math, science and technology careers by helping girls discover technology through their everyday surroundings. [Note: The Society of Women Engineers has also undertaken a Girl Scout Project to formally work with the Girls Scouts in promoting engineering and technical careers.]

National Engineers Week (E-Week): Annual event that promotes public awareness of engineering and encourages youth to consider a career in engineering. Coordinated by the National Society of Professional Engineers in conjunction with a coalition of over 100 engineering societies, governmental agencies, and major corporations. E-Week programs include:

1) Discover "E": Helping engineers plan activities for classroom visits during National Engineers Week (or any other time);

2) Introduce a Girl to Engineering: Encouraging women engineers to serve as mentors;

3) Future City Competition: Middle school students create 3-D models of their visions of the city of tomorrow;

4) Zoom into Engineering: A new adaptation of the popular PBS kids show ZOOM serves to introduce grade school kids to engineering principles; the website provides supplemental materials, including outreach toolkits to help engineers take Zoom into Engineering activities into classrooms, malls, etc.

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K-12 Teacher Training:

ASM HS Teachers' Summer Materials Camp: A week-long, hands-on laboratory experience to assist high school teachers in using applied engineering techniques in their classroom. Open to 30 teachers - absolutely free to participants (including travel to/from the camp, held at the University of Michigan).

City Technology: Program that introduces children (elementary and middle school level) to the basics of design technology through curriculum materials, teacher resources (books, guides and online forums), and professional development (teacher workshops). At the heart of the program is a series of five hands-on curricular units that make use of discarded bits of technology that can be obtained at little to no cost. Offered through the City College of New York.

da Vinci Project: A 1-week summer residential short-course designed to help math and science teachers (grades 7-12), guidance counselors, and district administrators integrate elemental engineering into the classroom. Run by the Univ of Connecticut’s School of Engineering using engineering faculty members. Serves 50 participants; $500 fee to participate (one-quarter of actual cost).

High School Engineering/Technology Curriculum: A high school curriculum offered by the California Engineering and Technology Alliance (CETA), one “developed by teachers for teachers.” The Core Curriculum Model - consisting of six 6-week curriculum modules - is designed for integrated use as a two-semester course for HS juniors. CETA offers assistance and training in helping to implement the curriculum.

Pre-College Engineering for Teachers (PCET) Program: An engineering and technology professional development program for K-12 teachers in Massachusetts, designed to help teachers learn how to include engineering in their classrooms through workshops and a summer institute. Established to help meet Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Frameworks adopted by Massachusetts in Dec., 2000 (the first state to adopt an engineering framework for its K-12 schools). PCET is a collaborate effort involving four colleges: Tufts Univ.; Univ. of Massachusetts-Amherst; Univ. of Massachusetts-Lowell; and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Project Lead The Way: A national program that seeks to institute a 4-year series of 5 courses into HS curricula designed to introduce students to engineering and engineering technology. Interested school districts enter into a formal partnership agreement; teachers are trained in the curricula via a 2-week Summer Training Institute held at various sites nationwide. Also offers an activity-oriented middle school technology curriculum (Gateway To Technology) consisting of four independent 10-week units.

Science Training Programs Directory for Students and Teachers: Online database of over 300 science, math, and engineering enrichment programs for pre-college students and teachers. Maintained by Science Service.

SECME Summer Institute: A 12-day summer professional development program for K-12 teachers, counselors, and administrators, focusing on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, designed to implement the "SECME program." Put forth by SECME - the Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering.


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