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NCMLS Engineering Fair

Museum of Life and Science - Durham, NC

Concept

The U.S. is graduating far too few engineers and scientists in relation to the rest of the world. Research has suggested that if you don't get kids interested and excited about science before middle school, they are likely to not explore one of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematical) disciplines.

There is an annual program called "e-week" (formerly National Engineering Week) which takes place in February. It pairs engineering professionals with schools so the professionals can talk about engineering to students.

To bolster that effort I organized and "e-week in the summer" program which was held approximately 6 months after e-week so that STEM disciplines where kept in the front of students minds as much as possible.

The event was arranged like a school science fair where engineering professionals from IBM and other local companies led children in performing various experiments.

Implementation

This event was held at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC. My role was project manager and organizer. Each year I would negotiate with the museum staff for time and space, gather a group of willing volunteers, find the funds needed to buy supplies, and manage the budget.

I organized the event annually for 4 years from 2005 - 2008 before handing it off to a new organizer. The event has consistently been the one of the museum's most popular, attracting over 1,200 visitors (1.5 times normal attendance) each time it was held.