I like to spend my Saturdays doing geeky things. Sure, I do geeky things all week long, but on Saturdays I work on the projects that I’ve assigned to myself! Most of my do-it-yourself stuff and game-related geekery happens on Saturdays. This last weekend, I got to share some of that stuff with middle-schoolers and other folks who might have an interest in engineering.
As part of an undergraduate research project I’m doing at Portland State University, five of my cohorts and I demonstrated our research projects at MESA’s Engineering Day and talked about why we chose engineering as our field of study. I talked about my love of computing and problem-solving and hacking of all kinds, but most importantly, the joy I feel whenever I bust something open. I also talked a bit about the differences between civil, mechanical, computer and electrical engineering – and of course, why EE is the coolest of them all. Finally, I talked about my interest in embedded systems.
Our talks were followed by a selection of activities. My activity was (surprise!) busting stuff open. I brought along about a dozen cell phones with the sim cards and batteries removed, told folks how they could open the cases to see the boards and components inside, then gave them the tools to do it. It was great! It was much easier to explain embedded systems to folks once they had the examples in their own hands and I could point to specific components as I explained their uses.
Overall, it was one of the best engineering-related activities I’ve experienced this year, and I’m very glad that I participated.