BYU students teach next generation about engineering and technology

“This is a chance for kids to find out more about what engineers do and fall in love with it."

The Garden Court of the Wilkinson Student Center was turned into an interactive display of science and technology in celebration of National Engineers Week. The Ira A. Fulton College hosted an expo for local school kids to learn about the different types of engineering and technology professions through hands-on demos and competitions.

Well over 1,100 students from local elementary, middle and high schools attended, making this the biggest Engineering and Technology Day yet at BYU.

“We have a STEM program at our school so this is a great connection for the kids,” said Carol Gaylord, a seventh and eighth grade teacher at Dixon Middle School in Provo.

Live demonstrations and competitions were hosted by different campus clubs, including the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Society for Women Engineers, Global Engineering Outreach, Biomedical Engineering Society and many more. The college students involved volunteered their time to make this event a success.

“I help with this event because it is fun to see the kids do engineering and support the next generation,” said Zach Christensen, a senior studying civil engineering.

Each station had engaging activities for the visiting students, whether it be combining the ingredients to launch an Alka-Seltzer bottle rocket, guessing which of 10 items is petroleum free or folding paper into tessellations, a repeating pattern of shapes that fit together. The college students represented their areas of study and taught the younger students how their discipline is used in everyday life.

“I learned about engineering and air pressure and how to make pickles glow,” said one fourth grader from Provo's Westridge Elementary.

There was something new for everyone to learn and explore.

“I liked the egg drop contest the most because we got to make our own container with cotton balls and cups,” said a ninth grader from Spanish Fork Junior High. “My egg didn’t break. I didn’t think it would work, but it did and it was a fun experience.”

The purpose behind this big event is to contribute to the mission of DiscoverE (formerly National Engineers Week Foundation) which is “to sustain and grow a dynamic engineering profession through outreach, education, celebration, and volunteerism.”

“When I came to college I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” said Andrew Glenn, a chemical engineering student. “This is a chance for kids to find out more about what engineers do and fall in love with it. We need more engineers in the world because they are the people who change the world. If I convinced one kid today to become an engineer, I will feel successful.”

The college ended Engineering and Technology Week's festivities with a social and activities night which more than 200 students, faculty and staff attended.

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