Monthly Archives: September 2017

Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science (GEMS) in the News

The Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) GEMS program in Aberdeen, Maryland, was recently featured in Army Research Lab (ARL) and APG news. ARL, the Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense and the Communications-Electronics Research Development and Engineering Center have been working together for four years to offer science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.

 

This summer, APG contractors introduced students to geographic information systems (GIS) among many other STEM areas. Marissa Yancone, a returning student participating in GEMS for grades 7-10, says she enjoys GEMS “because [students] get to learn about so many different STEM areas.”

 

GEMS is an Army-sponsored, summer program that exposes middle and high school students, who may not otherwise give serious thought to STEM, to mathematics and science career paths. Interested in learning more? Visit the GEMS page on our website.

Research & Engineering Apprenticeship Program (REAP) Scholar Receives Research Award

Congrats to our REAP scholar, Kennedi Ginger, a high school senior at Whitfield School in St. Louis, Missouri, who is a recipient of the 2017 Students and Teachers As Research Scientists (STARS) Award for Excellence in Research. STARS pairs high school students with local scientists to conduct undergraduate-level research projects.

 

Kennedi worked with Dr. Roberta Pineda from Washington University in St. Louis on her paper titled, “Feeding coordination problems in preterm and full-term infants.” She is one of 29 students, out of 96 who competed, who received recognition for research papers.

 

You can read more about her experience with STARS here.

Unite Summer Programs Have an Impact on Students Nationwide

RESTON, VA – The Technology Student Association (TSA), administrator of the Unite program for the Army Education Outreach Program (AEOP), is pleased to announce that more than 350 students spent the summer learning and engaging in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at university Unite sites across the country.

Unite is a four-to-six week, pre-collegiate summer experience for talented high school students from groups historically underserved and underrepresented in STEM areas. Unite encourages students to pursue college majors and careers in STEM-related fields through a program of hands-on rigorous academics, enrichment, and career exploration.

“It [Unite] was amazing! I learned a lot about the different branches of engineering, which really helped me decide what career path I’d like to pursue,” said a student in Unite at Michigan Technological University. “Everything we did was extremely engaging and educational. It was a very memorable experience! The perfect mixture of learning and fun.”

Some university sites offered a broad academic experience for participants. Others provided a focus in specific STEM areas, such as coding, robotics, drone development, big data research, and gaming.

Summer 2017 Unite programs were held at the following universities:

Alabama State University (AL) Harris-Stowe State University (MO)
University of Colorado (CO) New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJ)
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FL) University of New Mexico (NM)
Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus (FL) University of Nevada, Las Vegas (NV)
Savannah State University (GA) Fayetteville State University (NC)
Xavier University of Louisiana (LA) University of Pennsylvania (PA)
Morgan State University (MD) Texas Southern University (TX)
Michigan Technological University (MI) Virginia Tech (VA)
Jackson State University (MS) Marshall University (WV)

 

2017 marked the fifth year of the Unite program under TSA’s direction. In October 2017, a Request for Proposal (RFP) will be released for the next funding cycle (2018-2019) of Unite sites. Institutions interested in submitting a proposal should contact Hillary Lee, Unite Program Administrator for AEOP, at hlee@tsaweb.org.

 

The Technology Student Association (TSA) is a national non-profit organization of middle and high school students engaged in STEM. TSA was chartered in 1978, and since then over 2,000,000 students have participated in its program of activities.

Members apply and integrate STEM concepts through competitive events, leadership endeavors, co-curricular activities, and related programs. 

 

Apprentices Take on Real Science and Engineering Research at SD Mines

By Sara Munro, Communications & Public Relations, Academy of Applied Science

Assisted by Dani Mason, Public Relations Officer, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

 

The Research and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (REAP) gives high school students hands-on experience in research labs at 41 universities across the country. Three South Dakota students were thrilled to dive into research this summer at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SD Mines).

 

Sponsored by the Army Education Outreach Program, SD Mines REAP apprentices worked alongside faculty and graduate students to research and develop: 3-D-printed rocket propellant; fusion bonds to make lighter, more fuel-efficient parts for the automotive and aerospace industries; and titanium biomedical implants that combat the body’s rejection of foreign objects.

 

Each of these three student stories demonstrates the importance of collaboration within research teams. Students engaged in highly technical, exciting work and discovered how everyone, from apprentice to graduate student to principal investigator, plays a part in innovation.

 

Apprentice: Rebecca

 

During her SD Mines REAP experience, Stevens High School senior Rebecca Watts worked with her research team to 3-D print rocket propellant, looking at the burn characteristics, with the goal of eventually 3-D printing a rocket engine. Watts’ research was co-sponsored by the SD Space Grant Consortium. “I really had no idea how incredible 3-D printing can be, how helpful it can be. I can 3-D print things that are almost impossible to weld or put together any other way, so it opens up a whole realm of possibilities in the future,” Watts said.

 

Teamwork was instrumental. Watts joined the research team of Nicholas Ritchie, an industrial engineering sophomore; Sharla Glover, a mechanical engineering senior; Derek Neubert, a chemical engineering graduate student; and Lori Groven, Ph.D., a chemical and biological engineering assistant professor. Ultimately, the team wants to apply what they’ve discovered to 3-D print any object using energetic materials, which range from explosives and rocket fuels to gasoline and pyrotechnics.

 

Apprentice: Enrique

Central High School junior Enrique Mandas researched fusion bonding using a tool called an ultrasonic spot welder. This tool uses the energy from high-frequency vibrations to instantly fuse plastics together. The goal is to use this bonded plastic material, called polypropylene, to provide a lighter, more fuel-efficient alternative to the heavier metal parts currently used in? by? automotive and aerospace industries. Mandas focused specifically on optimizing the joining process of the plastic materials in order to create the strongest bond.

 

Mandas was struck by the power of a small task – welding plastics together – to transform two huge industries. “You become a changemaker once you become a scientist or engineer. You can discover something big that will change the world or something small that will change your life.” Mandas worked with mentors Joseph Newkirk, a mechanical engineering graduate student, and Cassandra Degen, Ph.D., a mechanical engineering assistant professor.

 

Apprentice: Grayson

Sturgis High School senior Grayson Nelson worked to optimize orthopedic implants, such as those used in shoulder and knee replacements. The problem with implants is they have a large surface area and are under constant tension in the body. To combat this, SD Mines researchers created titanium oxide nanotubes, essentially titanium rust, to coat the implant, thereby decreasing the surface area under tension and allowing the implant to better integrate with the body.

 

Nelson took the research even further with Jevin Meyerink, a biomedical engineering graduate student, and Grant Crawford, Ph.D., associate professor in materials and metallurgical engineering. They added a fluorescent biological organism onto the nanotube in order to pinpoint the exact location of the tension. Then, they sent samples of their findings to South Dakota State University researchers, who inserted an antibiotic into the nanotubes to combat the body’s rejection of the implant.

 

“[Previously], I did an internship at the VA Hospital, and I loved the medical aspect. But I also want to do research. At Mines, I integrated metallurgical, biological and chemical engineering, and now I want to get a biochemical degree and go into the medical field,” Nelson said.

 

Click here for more photos of this year’s SD Mines REAP students.

 

Get Involved in REAP

Across the United States, 118 high school students participated in REAP this year. Applications for students open in winter for summer placements. Learn more about REAP and the participating universities here. [link: REAP program page]