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UC celebrates Engineers Week 2020 with local K-12 students

The outreach is sponsored by the college’s Office of Inclusive Excellence and Community Engagement

two male african american elementary aged students at a table building a small structure from plastic cups, pencils, rubber bands, cardboard, etc.

Two students finish their design. Photo/Tiffaney Hamm

The University of Cincinnati's College of Engineering and Applied Science loves to celebrate Engineers Week and this year was no exception.

Throughout the week, 115 young people learned about engineering through hands-on activities and interaction with Bearcat engineers. 

The outreach efforts sponsored by the college’s Office of Inclusive Excellence and Community Engagement included engagements both on and off campus with Cincinnati-area schools and a local youth STEM organization.

Staff members Don Wittrock, outreach coordinator, and Paula Lampley, director of Women in Engineering Programs, organized the events with the help of volunteers from UC’s Choose Ohio First Scholars.

a middle aged white man stands at a classroom table, where five male elementary students are sitting building something out of paper, cardboard, pencils and plastic cups, etc.

UC staff member Don Wittrock supports Oyler School students completing a challenge. Photo/Tiffaney Hamm

E-Week kicked off early at a weekend session with the STEM Girls group at the Cincinnati Museum Center. The group met at Union Terminal and discussed voltage, power, circuits and green energy. To practice the concepts they learned, students created potato-powered LEDs.

STEM Girls is a free program that engages children ages 7 to 14 in activities that aim to motivate young women to enter STEM fields.

The outreach team hosted 25 seventh and eighth-grade students from Corryville Catholic Elementary School on campus.

Students learned about the fields of engineering and toured the UC Department of Aerospace Engineering’s Flight Simulation Lab, where aerospace engineering graduate student Owen Macmann showed the students the current simulator and the latest student experiments.

You brought a fun project, but you also helped the students see themselves in a new light. I loved watching them use their creativity and learn that they are engineers.

Tiffaney Hamm, Oyler School teacher

two elementary aged students sitting on the floor of a classroom, with rubber bands, pencils, small plastic cups in front of them. one is holding a cardboard toilet paper roll

Two Oyler students construct their challenge device. Photo courtesy of Tiffaney Hamm

During the visit, Corryville Catholic students completed the FLUOR engineering challenge, a worldwide challenge for K-12 students where groups use materials like pencils and rubber bands to construct a device that can fling a ping pong ball and knock down an eraser from the top of a wicket.

Groups can win one of several $1,000 prizes for the school.

The outreach team visited Oyler School in Lower Price Hill on Feb. 19, where a group of 5th grade students also participated in the FLUOR challenge.

“Your session was incredible. You brought a fun project, but you also helped the students see themselves in a new light," said Tiffaney Hamm, a teacher at Cincinnati's Oyler School.

"I loved watching them use their creativity and learn that they are 'engineers.' I am so appreciative of our partnership and [for your] true understanding of our kids. Thank you for exposing them to STEM,” Hamm said.

On Feb. 20, 2020, Shroder High School sent eight students for a visit to UC’s engineering programs.  Students learned about engineering and participated in the FLUOR Engineering challenge. They also visited Bearcat Motorsports, UC’s team for a formula-style racecar design competition hosted by the Society of Automotive Engineers for college students.  A few high school students there have been accepted into the college and are now considering becoming a Bearcat engineer.

E-Week concluded with the STEM Girls of Cincinnati Museum Center. Two-dozen girls continued their exploration into green energy with Sarah Watzman.  Participants learned about thermoelectric generators and Watzman’s research exploring how to create usable electricity out of the massive amount of wasted heat currently lost in energy production.  

Featured image at top: Three students from Corryville Catholic Elementary School participate in the FLUOR engineering challenge. Photo/Corrie Stookey/CEAS Marketing