Georgia Southern University’s Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing welcomed more than 100 Bulloch County Schools QUEST students to campus last week for a full-day engineering study program.
About 20 Ph.D. faculty in the Engineering Department and their students spoke with, taught and guided fifth grade students from nine local elementary schools that included Julia P. Bryant, Brooklet, Stilson, Nevils, Sallie Zetterower, Mattie Lively, Mill Creek, Langston Chapel and Portal Elementary.
The GS engineering faculty and students provided visual and hands-on demonstrations for using problem-solving, critical thinking, teamwork, math and science. QUEST students learned the relationship between these skills and future career options, specifically in the field of engineering.
Student groups rotated through classes in the morning where they learned about solar power, energy and engines, built environment and modeling, mechatronics, robotics and manufacturing.
“Partnerships with regional school districts are dynamic opportunities to bring students to our campuses or for us to take technology to the schools,” said Lori Mallard, marketing specialist for the College of Engineering and Computing.
“Faculty in our College see the value in introducing young students to STEM fields,” Mallard said. “To capture their attention at young ages, to encourage their interests and to provide opportunities for young learners to experience technology for themselves is a pathway for students continuing into technology fields and to pursue higher education in engineering and computer degree programs.”
“QUEST teachers know the excitement and curiosity the students have as they visit each of the engineering departments,” said Ellen Cowart, QUEST teacher for Julia P. Bryant Elementary School.
She added that the group design and building activity is a highlight of the day.
After a lunch break, students worked with fellow students in a design and building activity, capitalizing on what they had learned during the morning sessions.
Small teams of students, using a package of straws, one Styrofoam bowl and masking tape, were challenged to do one of the following: create the tallest tower with the bowl on top to hold candy, the tower with the least amount of straws and the bowl on top to hold candy, or a tower that would hold the most candy, over all.
“Engineering faculty and students do a wonderful job interacting with our QUEST students, sharing information through hands-on activities.”
Dr. Ricio Alba-Flores, associate professor in the college said, “As college professors in Electrical and Computer engineering, we are always excited to have young visitors in our Robotic Research Lab. We enjoy seeing the enthusiasm and how inquisitive fifth graders are about robotics.
“The participation of our engineering faculty and students provides role models to young visitors, so they can see themselves in the future pursuing engineering students. Having male and female students helps children realize the engineering field is not just for men and that female students can succeed in science, technology, math and engineering fields.”