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Below are some examples of outreach done by past award recipients.

Ari Fischer  –  University of Connecticut

“Under collaboration with Joy Erikson, the CTSG representative at UConn and head of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) office, I helped with planning and running the 5 day Kids Are Scientists and Engineerings Too (KASET) program for middle and high school students to explore science and engineering. We incorporated hands on activities where students built and tested devices including a one-way valve, prosthetic arm, and splint for a broken bone. Joy informed the students that I did research for NASA, and you could see them light up with excitement. Several of them asked me about my project, and helped me brainstorm ideas: for example one of the students suggested putting plants on board to generate air for the astronauts to breath. Through this outreach experience, I was able to share my excitement for research with future scientists, and entertain their curiosities and creativity.”

Johanna Press  –  Yale University

“On October 6, I gave [a powerpoint] presentation to a group of 55 students at Upper Dublin High School via Skype. These students, age 14-18, were members of the Upper Dublin Robotics Initiative (UDRI) at the kick-off meeting for their season participating in the FIRST Tech Challenge, where they will build and program a robot to compete in an international tournament. As an alumna of the organization, I spoke about how my experiences in high school robotics had started me on the path of science research and how over the past four years I have developed the interests sparked in UDRI. I described how the research I worked on at NASA is an exciting intersection of engineering and environmental science that enabled me to apply the skills in programming, design, problem-solving, and teamwork that I began to learn through UDRI. I encouraged them to learn as much as they could this year and to be open minded and creative–both in regards to building their robot, and to the path that their STEM careers will take. The students were surprised to hear that NASA does so much with earth science, especially that it maintains a huge fleet of airplanes! I described a few of the numerous ways that they could get involved with NASA, through science, engineering, math, computer science, and even non-STEM fields. The team leader, a math teacher at the school, said that he thinks this conversation not only inspired the UDRI students to commit themselves to learning and hard work this year, but also helped them to envision exciting futures in STEM.”

Gregory Wong  –  Wesleyan University

“I gave a presentation discussing STEM careers, astrobiology, and my own research to an AP Biology class at Middletown High School on June 5, 2013 in Middletown, CT. I informed students of the importance of STEM careers with a focus on NASA jobs. I discussed broad concepts regarding astrobiology, including microbial evolution and hypotheses regarding the origins of life on Earth. The presentation concluded with a general overview of the research I am conducting with the help of the CT Space Grant as a case study for what astrobiology research can include.”

Alex Isaac  –  University of Bridgeport

“Being a member of the University of Bridgeport NSBE chapter, I felt it was appropriate to reach out to our NSBE Jr. Chapter to fulfill my community outreach commitment for this grant. Gaining a greater interest in STEM majors was my ultimate goal when I sat down and talked to these elementary and middle school students. Although NSBE Jr. is very active in the STEM community at their academic level I felt like they didn’t really get to ever see what the next level (being high school and college) was all about. I felt the best way to accomplish this was to essentially give them an idea of what a day in my shoes would be like. I showed what some of my homework looked like (not to scare them) as well as some of the projects I was working on. My presentation was not just focused on extensive classwork; however, as we also discussed and did some work involving the fun aspects of being a STEM major. At this time the National NSBE Conference was nearing and we worked on one of their robotics projects they were entering into a contest there. Also I helped some of the students with their homework. In doing this community outreach I believe I gave the aspiring engineering students a better sense of what their hard work and dedication would bring them to as well as how fun some of the stuff you experience as a STEM major can be.”

James Sean McGuinness – Central Connecticut University

“[My] project was presented in several situations to stress the importance of STEM careers. TO start, the project was presented amongst other topics at the National Council of Space Grant Directors’ Spring Meeting in the spring of 2013. The presentation focused on the importance of STEM by focusing on the CT Space Grant Helicopter Workshop and the Kaman K-MAX research. After participating in the 2012 Helicopter Workshop, my involvement in the workshop changed to one of a supplementary teacher. As such, this project was presented to students in high school, college, and graduate school. Finally, as a salary engineer at Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, I am part of a group who voluntarily visits youth schools to teach them about helicopters and the importance of careers in the science and technology fields.”

Tanimu DeLeon Nwaha – University of Connecticut

“On [the] 17 and 25th of July, 2013, I participated in a STEM enrichment program tailored to high school students. The students were of diverse backgrounds, but from the same surrounding tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The even was held in the Leo Engineering building at Manhattan College in the Bronx, NY. The students are provided a broad spectrum approach to the field of engineering. They participate in everything from Civil engineering activities to Chemical engineering, right through engineering ethics and moral principles. My role was to provide an example of someone close in age, who has a degree and experience in engineering. My presentation discussed common pitfalls and the actions taken to come up with a resolution. Additionally, I balanced the talk with the means undertaken to achieve success in the field of engineering. The main goal of the program was to excite and motivate students through a hands on context on the opportunities that await them in engineering.”

Cameron MacDonald  –  University of New Haven

“In terms of outreach, I participated in 3 major presentations. The first presentation was to my alma mater high school’s STEM class. High School in the Community is a magnet school not far from New Haven’s Downtown and Wooster Square neighborhoods, and in addition to providing alternative education options for suburban teenagers, also serves a great number of underprivileged urban youth. It has also lately become a destination for special education students, a trend that I took an early part in. As a graduate, and a special education student (although I have not identified myself as such since high school), I was able to speak from experience about the trials and opportunities that lay in store for students at HSC. And as a recipient of a merit-based NASA grant, I was able to speak about options, particularly in the STEM disciplines, that many of the students there would likely not have considered otherwise.”

Sarah Michels  –  University of Bridgeport

“I participated in math tutoring at St. Ambrose catholic middle school.  I’ve been tutoring math to a group of middle school kids with NSBE at St. Ambrose catholic school in Bridgeport. We’ve been doing this for an hour on Fridays since February. The first week that we went I did a kickoff presentation about why learning math is important for the future. The kickoff presentation is what I was thinking of using for the requirement for the outreach presentation about STEM.”

Patryk Deptula – Central Connecticut State University

“As part of my outreach, I chose to go to my old high school, Bristol Eastern High School, and present to a technology education class about STEM education, careers, and outcomes. In addition, we spoke about the projects we are able to conduct at Central Connecticut State University. In the first picture you can see my talking about STEM careers, while the second picture has my colleague talking about the HPRE (Hybrid Propellant Rocket Engine) research project that has been going on at CCSU since 2010. Many students seemed very interested in our talk and asked questions about what it is like to be an engineering student. It was a great opportunity to spread knowledge and inform younger kids.”




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