Universities and secondary schools continue to search for new ways to fill the STEM pipeline with interested students. While many young people want to learn more about engineering and computer science, the rapid pace of change and expanding program offerings can be daunting to students in grades 8-12.
To help spark more interest in engineering and technology, Volgenau students who were enrolled in Introduction to Engineering Honors (ENGR 107-H) presented a STEM showcase to local secondary school students in December 2015.
"We wanted to spark interest in different engineering disciplines and show the kids a few different kinds of things that they can do with a STEM background," said Kammy Sanghera, executive director STEM Outreach for the Volgenau School of Engineering and the associate professor in the Department of Information Sciences and Technology. "The showcase also gave our students a chance to give back to the community, show leadership, and demonstrate their knowledge."
Michael Bailey, a first year Computer Science major interested in cybersecurity delivered a talk on the topic. "I think because I was closer to the age of the students at the workshop they had an easier time connecting, and seeing themselves studying computer science or engineering in the future."
Bailey said the website they developed for the showcase was being used and accessed by parents and students a week after the event. "To me that says there is great interest in the topic."
Other workshops during the day explored biosensors and graphene with hands-on demonstrations and activities. Nayef Abu-Ageel, an adjunct professor in the Department of Bioengineering and the Department Electrical and Computer Engineering led these activities.
"The workshop was probably my favorite part of the course," said Emily Littell. "It allowed us to be creative and have fun and really helped us learn about graphene since we had to teach others about it."