More than 500 6th to 12th grade Washoe County students swarmed engineering buildings across the University to learn about research in various fields of engineering, such as experimenting with micromanipulators or observing demonstrations on robots, at the fourteenth annual Engineers Day, April 13. The College of Engineering hosts Engineers Day to encourage local youth to pursue a future in engineering at the University.
"Engineer's Day is important because the program is focused on connecting school-aged students to engineering earlier and exposing them to different engineering fields," Meg Fitzgerald, coordinator of recruitment, retention and advising for the College of Engineering, said. "Often the research or experiments demonstrated have never been seen by the students, so it is an eye opening, fun experience for them. This program gives them an introduction to an educational field and is also an opportunity to see the campus."
During the event, students participated in interactive demonstrations led by University faculty and students. Student touring the earthquake engineering lab learned about research projects simulating the effects of earthquakes on buildings and bridges.
In another lab, participating students were shown a car that can use water as fuel, some of the University's 3-D printers and scanners, as well as various drone projects. They even got to learn how plastics are made at an interactive lab where demonstrators grew a string of nylon from a beaker of liquid.
One of the presenters, Santosh Banisetty, a 2nd year Ph.D. student in computer science and engineering, believes he and his colleagues had a real impact on the young attendees because of the way the event fosters opportunities to interact with researchers and be exposed to the technologies involved.
"We just had a student approach and ask how he could get involved in robotics research when he graduates high school," Banisetty said. "After explaining how robotics is multidisciplinary, and he could approach it from various fields such as computer science, mechanical or electrical, he seemed enthusiastic about prepping for a future in engineering with the University of Nevada, Reno."
Engineers Day is hosted annually by the College of Engineering and the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. More information regarding research and outreach programs can be found on the College of Engineering website.