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Robotic Outreach to Attract Primary and Secondary Students to Engineering

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count

17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28808

Download Count

64

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Paper Authors

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J. Craig Prather Auburn University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-0119-9256

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Craig Prather is a graduate student in the Auburn University department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He graduated with his undergraduate degree in summer of 2015 in electrical engineering and masters in fall of 2016. He is pursuing a doctorate in electrical engineering with a research focus in electromagnetics. Craig is currently a teaching assistant for a junior level lab where the students build and test an AM radio.

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Michael Trent Bolt Auburn University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4401-5071

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Michael Bolt is a graduate student at Auburn University pursuing a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. He is currently working as a research assistant to Dr. Mark L. Adams in the STORM Lab as well as teaching lab courses as a Teaching Assistant. His current projects include embedded system programming for environmental sensing projects and the reorganization of lab course content to increase student interest in subject material.

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Brent Bottenfield Auburn University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9493-7758

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Master's Student at Auburn University interested in advancing engineering interest through K-12 outreach.

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Thaddeus A. Roppel Auburn University

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Dr. Roppel earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University in 1986. He has served on the faculty of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Auburn University since that time. He teaches and conducts research in the field of collaborating mobile robots for search and rescue. He is also active in P-12 outreach, including supervising numerous summer camps for students of all ages. He is a member of IEEE and ASEE, and co-author of a textbook on electrical engineering fundamentals.

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Stuart M. Wentworth Auburn University

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Stu Wentworth received his electrical engineering doctorate from the University of Texas, Austin, in 1990. Since then, he has been with Auburn University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, specializing in electromagnetics and microelectronics. He has authored a pair of undergraduate electromagnetics texts and has won several awards related to teaching. He is the department’s undergraduate Program Director and Chair of its Curriculum and Assessment Committee.

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Mark Lee Adams Auburn University

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Dr. Adams earned his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from Auburn in 1997. Dr. Adams completed his M.S. (2000) and Ph.D. (2004) in electrical engineering with an emphasis on biophysics and nanofabrication at the California Institute of Technology. He joined Auburn University as an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in 2014. His interests include smart materials, organic electronics, biologically inspired structures, electromagnetics, photonics, biotechnology, micro/nano fabrication and computer modeling.

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Abstract

Graduate students and faculty at Anonymous University’s Department of ECE developed an automated NerfTM launcher for STEM outreach. This robot was created by the authors as a final design project for a robotics course. The robot detects a reflective target using infrared light and tosses a NerfTM ball at the target. The robot was initially demonstrated to a Title 1 middle school robotics group working on a competition robot at the university. This opportunity allowed for a preliminary outreach event that was well received by the students and teachers: they all expressed enhanced interest in STEM as the design and design process was explained. This response inspired the further use of the robot as an outreach and recruitment apparatus.

To make the device more effective for outreach, targeted instructional approaches for use with different age ranges were created. These approaches vary in technical level and duration as appropriate. The outreach events were shown to increase the interest level of students in STEM fields through anonymous pre- and post- demonstration surveys. The primary goal of the outreach program is to target Title 1 schools and other under-served communities.

Prather, J. C., & Bolt, M. T., & Bottenfield, B., & Roppel, T. A., & Wentworth, S. M., & Adams, M. L. (2017, June), Robotic Outreach to Attract Primary and Secondary Students to Engineering Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28808

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