EPICS was founded at Purdue University in 1995 and now includes over a dozen other national and international universities. EPICS/High is the high school affiliate of this program that began in 2006. EPICS/High can be found in more than 50 high schools across the country, including Xavier College Preparatory. Xavier offers EPICS as a full-year academic program or as an independent study. Some students decide to participate in both programs, working with different teams and completing different projects in each.

EPICS is a mix of partnerships working together to produce quality, design-based projects that help local community agencies make a difference in people's lives. It all starts with YOU, the student. EPICS is not only hoping to attract science and math students, but students with various academic interests. It takes all personalities and strengths to make EPICS teams successful in completing meaningful projects for their communities. EPICS will show you how engineering and design make a real difference in the world and helps people all around you everyday.

For more information about EPICS/High, see the Purdue EPICS/High website.

The Purpose

EPICS at Xavier is unique because it is an all-girl environment. The program is very empowering for the young women involved because it interests them in engineering, math, science, and technology as a possible career path; something that was previously not a popular career among women. The role of women in engineering, math, science, and technology is growing so it is only fitting that Xavier College Preparatory, a school full of bright, intuitive young women, be a host to the EPICS program. EPICS at Xavier is also unique because it uses engineering to integrate and understand the Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching as defined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

1. Life and Dignity of the Human Person
2. Call to Family, Community, and Participation
3. Rights and Responsibilities
4. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
5. The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
6. Solidarity
7. Care for God’s Creation

Using these seven themes in engineering enables students to experience a strong connection to the community through faith and understanding. Xavier students also benefit from the EPICS program because it implements the idea of service learning. Xavier College Preparatory combines academics with service learning to offer a unique experience where students are able to do something real and see the ultimate outcome of their efforts.

EPICS Elective Classes in Engineering

The full-year EPICS courses are based on the EPICS/High model and incorporate the Arizona Engineering Standards. These courses, which are taught by Janet Mambrino, Mathematics Department co-chair, are a new and exciting addition to the Xavier curriculum. Since EPICS/High as a class is new to Xavier, each course will be added as students complete the one prior to it. The EPICS/High courses strive to teach students engineering in a way that will benefit all parties involved. The following courses may be taken for an academic credit as a math, science, or technology elective if all prerequisites are met:

ENGR 1: Introduction to Engineering Design

Explore the engineering design process and learn what engineering is all about while completing a community service project.
Bring math, science and technology together to make a difference in the lives of others.

ENGR 2: Advanced Design Methods*
Delve deeper into engineering design. Use 21st century tools, communication skills and project management techniques to develop your community service project. *Prerequisite: Introduction to Engineering Design

ENGR 3/4: Engineering Capstone*
Incorporate all that you have learned about design into your own project. Find a community partner, assess their needs, develop and implement your engineering service project from start to finish.  *Prerequisite: Advanced Design Methods.

EPICS Independent Study in Engineering (ISE)

The Independent Study in Engineering, or ISE for short, is moderated by Xavier faculty members Janet Mambrino, Claire Bond Choquette, Catherine Wyman, Nathan Ward, and Glen Hestenes. In ISE, students work in teams on engineering projects they select from the start of the design process to its completion or final product. Members of ISE also get the chance to participate in math, science, and engineering competitions and were the winners at the 2011 and 2012 JETS/TEAMS competition, held at Arizona State University (pictured on right). The Independent Study can be taken in junction with an EPICS design class or on its own and gives students a way to participate in the community with project partners. Like the EPICS classes, ISE focuses on service learning which benefits both Xavier's project partners and students involved. Service learning teaches through doing; EPICS has been designed to give students hands-on, real-world experience working with an organization to complete a project that is put into real use in their community. It's a terrific community service experience for students. The experience you gain from EPICS can make a big difference as you decide on where and what you want to do with you life following high school.

This real-world setting gives the participants a taste of what it is like to be an engineer and experience the joys of helping people. If you are a Xavier student who is interested in joining the Independent Study, please contact an ISE faculty member for further information.

EPICS Laureate Program

In honor and recognition of the extraordinary work that girls complete as part of the EPICS program, Xavier offers an “EPICS Laureate” diploma.  The curriculum does not deviate from the core Xavier graduation requirements.  Instead, it builds on the Xavier curriculum to create a uniquely focused study in engineering. Requirements for the EPICS laureate are as follows. Note that the grade levels for the specific science courses are suggestions and not intended to imply a rigid sequence in those particular years of study.


Grade 9

Grade 10

Grade 11

Grade 12

Math:  4 cr

Algebra I or higher

Geometry or higher

Algebra II or higher

College Algebra or  higher

Science:        4 cr


Biology++ or Chemistry++

Chemistry++ or Physics+++

AP Environmental Science+  or Anatomy or Astronomy I/II or AP Bio or AP Chem (Choose 1)

EPICS Engineering: 3 cr


Engineering Design or ISE+

Design Methods or Engineering Design or ISE+

Design Capstone+ or Design Methods or Engineering Design or ISE+

Design Capstone or Design Methods or ISE+

Technology: 1/2 cr



Computer Programming and    AP Computer Science (opt) (may be taken in either Jr or Sr year)

Fine Arts: 1/2 cr


XCP Sculpture (may be taken during either Soph, Jr, or Sr year)

+ Two years of ISE or a combination of ISE and APES or APCS can be substituted for the third year of EPICS  

++ Biology or Chemistry may be taken during summer school to meet requirements                                           

+++AP Physics also counts as a 4th year science

The Projects

EPICS projects take place in the community and focus on the engineering design process. Our community partners really benefit from the services provided by the young women of Xavier EPICS. EPICS is a nonprofit organization so funding comes from donations and grants. If you are interested in donating to EPICS or know of somebody who might be feel free to contact the moderators. We currently have a number of projects underway. To learn about the specific projects and the teams involved please click on the link for our current projects in the sidebar.  If you are interested in becoming a community partner of EPICS or have an idea for a project please take time to fill out this form. Our moderators will be happy to contact you and provide you with further information.