Welcome to my outreach portfolio.
I really like sharing my enjoyment of engineering and science with other people, particularly new and future engineers and scientists. Please contact me (see address below) if you would like to discuss projects seen on this page or have questions about engineering in general.
This page shares some of my outreach projects. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Take Your Child to Work Day - Name Plates (April 2013)

This was my third year participating in the TYCTWD events. My company at the time was fairly large and had more than 100 kids attend each year. To maximize what kids got from the day (and I think also to minimize the chaos) the day was full of workshops and activities. I participated each year by creating a workshop with colleagues to give the kids some hands-on engineering challenges.
This workshop was a logistical challenge, but also a lot of fun. We made a light-up name plate for each child. The kids were able to program their nameplate to cycle through three different colors of their choice. Since we had a limited number of computers for the programming, we also talked about how circuit boards are designed and made and how just a few colors of light can be mixed to produce many different colors.
The workshop handout, with information about light and electronics is available here.

We played with flashlights shining through colored plastic to try to make white light.

We explained how a circuit board was designed and made.

The kids were able to create their own colors for their name plates by blending red, green, and blue.

The LEDs would display whatever color the kids chose.

Each kid's nameplate had their first name on it

...but I made a custom one for myself.

Take Your Child to Work Day - Fan Boats (April 2012)

This workshop idea come from a colleague and was a great success. The best part was helping kids get the idea that even "failures" are successes, if you can learn from them. The project was simple enough (at least for the older kids) that it allowed time for some trial, error, and re-design of their boats.
The assembly instructions are available here.
If you're interested in recreating the project, please feel free to contact me for a materials list.

We gave each kid a block of lightweight foam.

They shaped the foam using plastic knives.

Fans and batteries were attached with pipe cleaners, wooden dowels, and twist ties.

The boats were decorated with extra twist ties and pipe cleaners.

We repurposed some instrument covers into troughs for racing the boats. Some carefully placed fishing line kept boats in line ...and lots of absorbent pads on the tables and floors kept the facilities team from killing us!

Take Your Child to Work Day - Archimedes' Screw (April 2011)

The first workshop I created was perhaps a bit too ambitious, but the project was still pretty cool (she said, ever so humbly!). We had the kids build candy dispensers using the principle of Archimedes' screw.
The assembly instructions are available here.
If you're interested in recreating the project, please feel free to contact me for a materials list.

The central component--the screw-- is made from plastic washers cut and then threaded onto a rod wrapped in spiral-wrap (usually used for wire and cable management inside instruments).

When all of the washers are installed, they form a screw thread.

The screw sits inside a tube inside a larger container. There's a "mouse-hole" cut into the tube's bottom edge to allow the candy from the container to enter the tube (see one orange M&M in the image above).

A baffle keeps the candies from simply rotating around the bottom of the tube. Turning the rod rotates the screw. The candies are raised against the baffle until they drop out of the opening in the top of the tube.
Here are some videos:
The final product as modeled in CAD:
...and in reality:

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