Lighthouse Learning: ECE students share STEM at Lyndhurst Elementary School

March 11, 2016
Students at Lyndhurst Elementary get a lesson in circuits. (Photo: Anita Sampath)

Students at Lyndhurst Elementary get a lesson in circuits. (Photo: Anita Sampath)

Martina Leistner remembers that hands-on opportunities sparked her interest in engineering. “I really want to pass that opportunity on, especially for kids that don’t have parents with technical or engineering backgrounds,” she said.

Leistner, a master’s student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, joined a group of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) students who visited Lyndhurst Elementary School to give fifth graders a lesson in STEM. The goal: light up a small lighthouse using a battery, copper tape, and an LED.

“Many students did not know what an LED was and were fascinated by the concept of light controlled with two thin copper wires and a tiny battery,” said Gaspar Tognetti, graduate student in ECE.

After the lighthouses were finished, the students were treated to an Oculus Rift demonstration, and the volunteers shared some of their work from Johns Hopkins and career options for engineers. Leistner demonstrated a device that aids blind people in navigating their environment, and master’s student Olabimpe Ogunmoyero showed the children a small ECG device. By the end of the day, many of the fifth graders were interested in becoming engineers.

“To me, it is very important to be able to expose the kids at that age to all the cool and exciting parts of engineering and get them pumped about a possible career in the field,” said Ogunmoyero. “My favorite part was seeing the young girls express interest in being future engineers and seeing them excited about the little projects they were working on.”

Special thanks to the students who volunteered for this event: sophomore Eric Tsai; master’s students Martina Leistner and Olabimpe Ogunmoyero; and PhD students John Rattray, Kayode Sanni, and Gaspar Tognetti. Also special thanks to Anita Sampath, senior academic program manager, for her work in organizing this event, for taking photos, and for gathering information for this article.

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