K–12 Outreach and Undergraduate Research
In 2019, we joined UD’s Women in Engineering outreach program at a local New Castle Middle School, Serviam Girls Academy , whose mission is to take girls from low-income houses and give them the education they need to succeed in high school and beyond. Working with Trevor Foresta, ECE undergraduate student and Julia Schneider, a post-doctoral researcher from the Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Sciences, we developed a module showing ECE’s critical role in neuroimaging technology and analysis for their enrichment program during their enrichment hour (4-5 pm on Wednesday). Julia provided slides and enthusiasm on current and past sensors and systems to measure the brains operation. Trevor assembled and tested the OpenBCI headset while still a first-year engineering student.
In 2020, Trevor and I (along with other volunteers) hosted a lunchtime activity booth at the “Engineering Your Tomorrow” event held at Delaware Tech Community College in Georgetown, DE. The Sussex County STEM Alliance organized this outreach event with the purpose “to expose, mentor and teach our County’s diverse young girls the basic fundamentals of science and engineering through high interest STEM activities, while showing them… “STEM IS FUN”. After helping with the entomology experiments in the morning, I set up the booth that showcased ECE’s critical role in biomedical engineering with a live demonstration and interactive handouts. Thanks to UD’s Erin Sparks for inviting us to this event.
Our initial outreach efforts were recognized by being one of five short-listed groups for the Neural Engineering Community Award at the 2021 Neural Engineering Workshop (NER'21)*, a biennial conference hosted by the IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society. The award was for outstanding contributions to the mission of inclusion and diversity. Congratulations to the winners! We will increase our impact and efforts in 2021–2022.