Dr. Skip's Corner: K-12 Teaching Adventures @ OSU Engineering
September 2004

An Outreaching Summer in the College of Engineering

True Story: A mother walked up to me the other day and said that she had just taken her son to the doctor to have a wart removed by freezing. Her son was crying after the procedure, so the doctor sought to entertain him by saying, “Look, I bet you’ve never seen this before,” and proceeded to pour liquid nitrogen on the table. The crying child said,” Yes I have, that’s liquid nitrogen turning into nitrogen gas, we did that in SKIES this summer….and do you know that dry ice goes directly from a solid to a gas called carbon dioxide.” The child stopped crying as the doctor looked on puzzled and bemused, and the mother just smiled.

While most college campuses and building quiet down considerably in summer, that is not the case for the OSU College of Engineering. Classrooms typically occupied by subdued undergraduates from September to June, are filled with the raucous laughter and high pitched voices (sometimes moving towards screams!) of K-12 kids from June through August, such that some of the Chemical Engineering Department staff have commented that Gleeson Hall feels like being in summer camp… and that’s just about the reality!

SKIES (Spritied Kids In Engineering and Science), a collaboration of OSU KidSpirirt (College of Health and Human Sciences) and the Chemical Engineering Department is just one of the many summer science programs that have been started or directly benefited from a grant awarded to the OSU College of Engineering in July 2003 (Toni Doolen, PI, IME) from the Flora and William Hewlett Foundation targeted at the recruitment and retention of engineering students, and in particular women and ethnic minorities. The majority of the funds awarded were for changes in the educational pedagogy of existing general engineering, math, and science courses taken by all college of engineering students in their first two years at OSU. However, approximately one-quarter of the funds allocated in the HF grant were targeted for K-12 outreach activities, acknowledging the importance of early and continuous exposure to science and engineering for the recruitment and retention of women and minorities in engineering.

A paper (M!_ASEE04_K12.doc) and presentation (M!_ASEE04_K12.ppt) titled, “Everything I know I learned in Kindergarten: Examples of Synergisms between K-12 Outreach and Recruitment and Retention of Women and Minorities in Engineering,” were presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) at Salt Lake City in June 2004. One of the key synergisms related to recruitment and retention is the mentoring pyramid, where faculty serve as mentors for COE graduate and undergraduate students, and high school students delivering the summer courses, who in turn serve as role models for the K-12 students in the various summer activities. This has proven to be a wonderful technique for strengthening the career aspirations of the COE students, recruiting the high school mentors into engineering careers, and delivering science and engineering content to the masses.

Below is a summary of the summer 2004 activities in the College of Engineering.


SKIES (Spirited Kids in Engineering and Science), June 14 – Aug. 27, 2004

  • Science and engineering activities for grades K-5 where kids explore chemistry, physics, math, life sciences, ecology and engineering in a fun, interactive and learning environment.
  • Coordinators: Skip Rochefort (ChE) and Karen Swanger (KidSpirit Program Director)
  • K-5, all summer on OSU Campus in collaboration with KidSpirit Program
  • lead teacher: Justin Barron (3-8 teaching certification); teaching mentors: Chandra Corley (ChE), John Yoder (ChE); Virginia McMackin (OSU Educ.), Sarah Freilich (Haverford College), Lisa Rung (U Washington), Katy Volmert (Cornel U.), Julia Park (Corvallis HS), Alia Mulder-Rossi (Philomath HS), Tina Coop (Kansas – SESEY alumna), Nikki Buck (California- SESEY alumna)
  • Summer ’04 – approximately 400 kids served (20/class in K-2 and 3-5 groups)

E-Camp -- Middle School Engineering Camp, July 19 – 23, 2004

Middle school students spend a week on the OSU campus exploring the many careers available in the field of engineering. Hands-on classes and activities each day feature bioengineering, chemical, civil, environmental, electrical, industrial manufacturing and mechanical engineering. Students work in laboratories to design, construct, and test models. They are introduced to "wireless technology" through the use of Personal Digital Assistants for data acquisition and analysis.

  • Coordinators: Ellen Ford (Saturday Academy) and Skip Rochefort (ChE Dept.)
  • one-week, non-residential camp on OSU Campus
  • Lead instructors: Jason Hower (ChE grad) and Danielle Leiske (ChE graduate student)
  • Instructors: Skip Rochefort (ChE), Greg Baker (CEM), Joe McGuire (ChE), Dan Staley (IME grad student), Chandra Corley (ChE), John Yoder (ChE), Virginia McMackin (OSU Educ.)
  • Summer ‘04: 23 middle school students (13 boys, 10 girls)

Lego Robotics Camp for middle school girls and boys, July 26 – 30, 2004
LEGO Robotics platform is used to introduce students to programming and design in engineering. Students have fun making things out of LEGO pieces and learn about the "smart" bricks including the Mindstroms RCX. They work with a partner to put together touch sensors and use a computer to teach the robot to follow a line, play a favorite song and do a victory dance at the finish.They move on to solving robotic challenges with modifications to hardware and software, like saving Oregon's forests by helping to put out "fires." They also see how the RCX can be used as a "process controller" that automatically controls the temperature in a box, similar to a home thermostat, and how robots are starting to be used in surgery.

  • Coordinators: Ellen Ford (Saturday Academy) and Keith levien (ChE)
  • Lead instructor: Keith Levien (ChE Dept.)
  • teaching Assistants: Kyle Levien (Corvallis HS), Jennifer Wu (West Albany HS)
  • one-week, non-residential on OSU Campus (ChE Dept. LEGO Lab)
  • Summer ‘04: 2 half-day sessions: middle school boys (20); middle school girls(9)

Adventures in Learning, June 21 - July 2, 2004
Judy Michael and Sarah Tuttle, Co-Directors 100 Education Hall 541-737-1289

Adventures in Learning combines stimulating academic and social opportunities in a fun-filled ten-day experience that exposes participants to exciting and sophisticated areas of interest not usually found during the regular school year. The program is designed for gifted, talented and creative learners who are interested in fast-paced, challenging opportunities.

There were two engineering topics in this years AIL curriculum offerings, both funded through the Hewlett Foundation.

E-Manufacturing Coordinator: Toni Doolen (IME)
Intructors: Myra Long and Dan Staley (IME graduate students), Erin Maier (HDFS undergrad)

  • 11 students in the two-week session

Everyday we use products that are the result of the high technology revolution and developments in the world of electronics manufacturing. The miniaturization of products (cell phones, computers, game boys) has been made possible by the development of a manufacturing technology called surface mount technology. Learn about the materials, equipment, and processes used by industrial and manufacturing engineers in building electronic products. Learn how electronic components work, to operate high tech manufacturing equipment, to identify electronic components, and manufacture a printed circuit board. This class will be held in OSU's state-of-the-art lean manufacturing lab.

Chemical Reaction Powered Car Coordinator: Skip Rochefort (ChE)
Instructors: Jason Hower (ChE Grad student), Chandra Corley and John Yoder (ChE undergrads)

In this course you will learn about chemical engineering. Chemical engineers use the knowledge of chemistry to solve unique problems and create a plethora of products. The problem we will be solving is to build a car powered only by a chemical reaction to transport a payload a specified distance. Youwill learn about how to plan and conduct experiments to optimize the design and operation of your vehicle. To do this we will cover basic chemistry, experimental design, data analysis, and optimization, all of which are key aspects to being a chemical engineer. As an added bonus, we will also discuss and operate a SEGWAY scooter and fuel cell cars.

AWSEM - Advocates for Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics
AWSEM’s mission is to create and support a network of science and technology practitioners, educators, and parents and community organizations committed to enriching opportunities in science and mathematics for young women. Middle school girls participate in hands-on activities, visit laboratories and work sites, interact with students and professionals, and discover the many career opportunities in engineering. The girls began meeting with OSU student mentors twice a month in January, 2004.

  • Coordinator: Ellen Ford (Saturday Academy)
  • Graduate and Undergraduate Student Mentors: Heidi Schmidt (BioE) and Emily Egging (ChE), Joani Kroon (ChE grad), Danielle Leiske (ChE grad), Wendy Schmidt (EnvE undergrad), Erin Beatty (BioE undergrad)
  • 2004 school year : 11 middle school girls.

Summer Experience in Science and Engineering for Youth (SESEY) July 11 – 16, 2004

SESEY is primarily for high school girls and ethnic minorities traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering, and for science, math, or physics teachers who are interested in developing curricular materials to promote engineering activities in their classrooms.

  • Directors: Skip Rochefort and Michelle Bothwell; coordinator: Ellen Ford
  • 9th-11th graders, one week residential camp on OSU campus
  • Research Mentors: Skip (7 ChE projects); Joe McGuire and Michelle Bothwell ( 5 BioE projects); Goran Jovanovic (1 ChE project)and Chris Pastorek (Chem. project).
  • student mentors: 7 ASE HS students and 12 ChE/BioE undergrads and grads
  • Summer ‘04: 40 HS students (32 girls, 8 boys) from 4 states (OR, CA, WA, MD), Puerto Rico and American Samoa.

Saturday Academy Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering (ASE) program
Saturday Academy's Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering (ASE) Program offers high school freshmen through juniors a chance to work with an engineer or scientist for eight weeks in a summer research experience. In summer 2004, there were 15 high school students working with COE faculty (of the approximately 25 total ASE students at OSU) in several different disciplines. The 11 students with ChE faculty mentors also participated as mentors themselves for the high school students in the one-week SESEY program.

ASE students with COE faculty: 2004
Bryan Bernart (Pilomath HS senior), Goran Jovanovic (ChE)
Christopher Breeden (Marist HS senior), Chih-Hung Chang (ChE)
Lori Exstrom (Central HS senior), Milo Koretsky (ChE)
Thomas Van Dorn (South Albany HS junior), Milo Koretsky (ChE)
Amy Kwon (Crescent Valley HS junior), Joe McGuire (ChE)
Thomas Lew (South Albany HS senior), Joe McGuire (ChE)
Kristen McAlpine (soth Albany HS senior), Gregory Rorrer (ChE)
Anneka Wickramanayake (Crvallis HS junior), Gregory Rorrer (ChE)
Jennifer Wu (Wesy Albany HS senior), Keith Levien (ChE)
Erica Zaworski, (Corvallis HS senior) Skip Rochefort (ChE)
Neil Lakin (Oregon Episcopal HS senior), Skip Rochefort (ChE)
Robert Zaworski (Corvallis HS senior), Ronald Metoyer (EECS)
Michelle Hastings (Sandy HS junior), Margaret Burnett (EECS)
Nico Sayavedra (Corvallis HS junior), Vinod Narayanan (ME)
Xiaoyu Shi (Crescent Valley HS junior), Deborah Pence (ME)

Host the Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering (ASE) Program Mid-Summer Conference (MSC) July 11-12, 2003

  • Coordinators: Ellen Ford (OSU Saturday Academy), Skip Rochefort (ChE), and Molly Schmitz (Portland Saturday Academy)
  • many COE, COS, COF, CoAg faculty involved in presentations.
  • Summer ‘04: 150 high school students on OSU campus for two days of workshops.

The summer activities discussed in the previous sections reflect a very busy summer of K-12 outreach in the College of Engineering, but these are only a sampling of the wealth of K-12 outreach programming in science and engineering available to the community through programs hosted at Oregon State University. Please see the accompanying information (M!_K12ProgDesc090104.doc and M!_K12ProgList090104.xls) for a complete list of programs with contact information.