Engineering department interacts with young minds

New facility hosts lab night for 3rd to 12th graders

By Sydney Faison
On October 12, 2018

Photo by Axel Marcenaro: Majeed Asubiaro, junior, assists a young student in completing an LED circuit. Engineering students were stationed all around the Hunter Strain labs, hosting activities for young thinkers.

The David L. Hirschfield Department of Engineering hosted a lab night in the Hunter Strain Engineering Lab that provided hands-on activities for 3rd through 12th graders on Oct. 4.

Lab night is an outreach program that introduces professors, students and the new facility (the Hunter Strain Lab) to the community and young minds of the future. The intent was to spark an interest in the field of engineering.

One of the hands-on activities was constructing a pasta tower and conducting a shake test to see how sturdy it was. They also did compression concrete tests and demonstrations of how fast water will filter through sand or dirt.

All of those who attended received free stress-relief foams shaped like hardhats with the engineering department’s name on them.

The members of the department provided information about engineering and the new facility.

"A unique part about the engineering program is that the leadership, faculty and students are very diverse," Janice Trees, STEM outreach community liaison, said.

Trees said that the facility makes a diversity of research possible since it houses a variety of labs: the building contains a student research lab and various testing labs.

Abner Arteaga, senior, said that the new facility provides a great workspace for the engineering faculty and students to learn engineering concepts and observe techniques that are used in the engineering world.

Some of the members explained the difference between civil and mechanical engineering. Civil engineering is the study of structures, buildings and transportation: things that do not move. Mechanical engineering is the study of vehicles and rockets: things that do move.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) student chapter is forming soon. Students can register to become members.

Housing opportunities are also available through the engineering department. The Civil Engineering Living Learning Community (LLC) offers students in the program an opportunity to live in Plaza Verde with other civil engineering students.

"In a macro level, [I like] knowing that with my knowledge I can help the world by improving a small portion of the life we live in," Arteaga said. "In the micro level, [I like] being able to provide for myself, my immediate family, my future family and not be a burden to society."

"You can apply all of the stuff you have learned in engineering into the real world," Hayden Turner, sophomore, said.

In 2014, the department of engineering received a $4.5 million gift from an anonymous donor, which they used to fund construction of the new facility.

The facility features a hydraulics lab, geotechnical lab, construction materials lab, engineering mechanics lab and student team projects lab.

The first lab classes in the facility were held in fall 2017.

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