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Outreach Examples and Tips

  •  Examples & Tips of K-12 Outreach
    • Sometimes there are established student groups in your department that do outreach, such as the UC Davis Biomedical Engineering Student Association (BESA) Outreach program
        • This is a great way to do outreach while interacting with people from your department
    • How to land opportunities at schools; who to contact? (according to 2009/10 BESA Outreach, led by Jen Phipps and Justin Shaffer)
        • 1) Word of mouth (friends who are teachers, etc.)
        • 2) The DEB (designated emphasis in biotechnology) (http://www.deb.ucdavis.edu/) has an outreach program set up and they sent out info about us to their contacts (e-mail)
        • 3) We looked up a list of all elementary/middle/high schools in the area, and we emailed either their career counselors or general contact people. We tried to pick lower-income/less-privileged schools to reach out to students who may not have had the same information presented to them as more affluent kids (see Identifying Underrepresented Communities & Schools)
    • What to present?  (it depends on the time available, your audience, etc.)
        • OVERALL tip: MORE cool pictures, LESS words!
            • It is a huge shift from what you are used to (conference/lab meeting presentation):
                • No jargon!  Explain it to them with words and situations that they understand.
                • No need to cite images, papers, etc.
        • BESA Outreach (30-50 min or about the length of one class)
            • Usually about 6 undergraduate and graduate students participate
            • Starts with a 5-10 min slideshow introduction to biomedical engineering
            • Then the students rotate around 3 stations (each led by 2 college students) with different biomedical engineering presentations and activities (7-8 min each)
            • Ends with a class discussion on career paths and any other questions from the students
        • Student Engineers Educating Kids (SEEK) (variable time after-school program run by engineering students at The University of Texas at Austin)
            • SEEK administers weekly, hands-on demonstrations in the classroom (http://www.utseek.org/)
            • Assisted by mentors, middle-school students participate in projects that teach engineering principles of many disciplines.
            • Example projects include assembling a robot, creating Gak gel, launching a rocket, and constructing a model bridge.
        • Sometimes you can also do a presentation and/or project on your own
            • Timing depends on the particular teacher and class you are working with
            • You can present one interesting idea/concept about your research that is understandable to the age group
            • In the past I have presented many pictures and videos about my research and then had the kids perform calculations and make an "engineering assessment" of the results
        • Sometimes less time is available; for example, you may have just one station at a large event where kids are cycling through
            • You can play a video about research/science/engineering and explain it and ask questions to keep it interactive (example video I have used: Racehorse surface study VIDEO)
            • You can have some sort of hands-on activity that the kids can hold and/or test themselves

 

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