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February 2021 Newsletter

Topics of Interest for Readers

All Readers
Check out how an e4usa classroom helps their community by making a safe swing for a community member in the Project Spotlight!
Read how one of our first-year e4usa teachers sees the e4usa mission in his classroom play out.
Research Interests?
Watch some of our e4usa team members present their research at the AAAS Annual Conference, here!
"e4usa isn't about how to do engineering. It's not a pre-engineering program trying to get you to become an engineer. It's about discovering the why and who of engineering.

-Kenneth Reid
e4usa Team Member
Dual Credit Awarded to e4usa Course
Now in place for the Mescalero High School beginning the Spring semester of 2021, a course including both Computer Science and Engineering courses was accepted for a Dual Credit of 4 college credit hours through the Information Systems Department at Eastern New Mexico University. This is after the action of Nate Raynor and Deborah Grider at Mescalero High School.
Congratulations to our e4usa school!
Oxon Hill High School in Maryland has been named an ITEEA STEM School of Excellence. 
We welcome all schools to learn more about this effort by visiting our website and signing up for our newsletter here. As always, we appreciate any feedback or suggestions you may have for our newsletter. Look for us on social media platforms with the hashtag #e4usa.
"This project was one of the most challenging projects we have done yet. We had to think from his [the client's] perspective and make it in the way in which we would be able for him to have fun and be safe."

-e4usa student
Project Spotlight
This month we focus on a recent e4usa project tackled by a classroom in order to help a community member. Stay tuned to future newsletters for the final product!
"Students in Mr. McCarthy's E4USA class at College Park Academy are partnering with The IMAGE Center of Maryland.  Through the IMAGE Centers Volunteers for Medical Engineering (VME) program students are working with a client in the community to solve a real-world problem: designing a safe swing seat for Jack, a young man in our community with Autism and Dravat's Syndrome."
-Brendan McCarthy and Dr. Vincent Nguyen
e4usa Teacher and University Partner
College Park Academy and University of Maryland
"Personally I really enjoy how the team came up with the swing idea for Jack because I felt like it could [really] help Jack and the work we put in to help Jack find the perfect swing for him."

-e4usa student
About the Project
Above, you can see group progress through interaction and feedback.

Jack has some coordination challenges and is subject to seizures. Jack gets enjoyment using a swing in the neighborhood playground but he must be supervised when using a standard swing.  The challenge is to design a solution that will allow Jack to safely enjoy swinging without the need for supervision. The feeling of independence for Jack is a critical factor in the need for this project. The design will also free his family from having to closely monitor him during use.

After an initial meeting with the family, constraints and criteria were determined for the project.  The design needs to safely secure and support Jack during swinging. Jack is however very active, so the design must still allow him to swing using his core muscles, and be simple enough that he can get in and out of the swing independently.  

The teams generated initial designs and these were presented to the family for feedback.  During this discussion, it became evident that one of the reasons Jack enjoys swinging is the interaction he gets swinging alongside someone.  It was clear that to fully meet his needs, the swing would also need to include a standard swing seat for someone else to use. [See draft 2].  Based on the feedback of one team's design, which included a harness, it was necessary to update the criteria for the project; teams were tasked with iterating their designs to ensure that the young man would be fully constrained in the event of a seizure.

Unfortunately, due to COVID regulations, students will not be able to meet to construct their prototypes. The silver lining to the pandemic is that instructional space at UMD is currently available for building! Mr. McCarthy and Dr. Nguyen from UMD will build based on the plans developed by the teams. This construction will happen alongside a sister swing project (a powered swing) currently being undertaken by a UMD undergraduate capstone design team for a separate VME client. Three seat designs are going to prototyping, and students have developed tests that will be used to determine which features best meet the constraints and criteria of the project. 
"Overall, I can’t say enough about how excited I am about this project. For the student’s it’s amazingly empowering to have their work tied to a real-world implementation, one that they can see physically develop, and see impact someone in their community. At UMD I’m a part of an initiative that is actively tracking and enhancing our environmentally and socially responsible engineering curriculum and activities. This project resonates so perfectly with that initiative. It’s critically important to demonstrate to our incoming generations that engineering is in fact about people, and about making positive conscientious progress in our world. I can’t wait to welcome this next set of do-ers into our engineering community."

-Dr. Vincent Nguyen
e4usa University Partner at University of Maryland
New e4usa Teacher Interview
Name: Daniel Taber
e4usa High School: Stratford STEM Magnet High School in Nashville, TN

E4usa focuses on “for us all”.  How do you see that playing out in your classroom?
"Stratford is the most diverse school I have taught in. E4USA has offered many opportunities to seamlessly integrate diverse perspectives and give my students a chance to see themselves in engineering, which is a field often catered to white men. Right from the start we talk about famous engineers, with e4usa itself bringing in Sylvia Acevedo and allowing me to showcase other women and people of color in engineering. The community project will also give students to address needs relevant to their lives, rather than the interest of the teacher."
 
Hear more from Daniel
Watch e4usa Team Research Presentation
On February 11th, Dalal, M., Carberry, A., & Ross, L. presented on Expanding Access in Engineering: Professional Development for School Counselors at the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) annual conference.
You can view their presentation here
Find Out More
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Copyright © 2021 University of Maryland Engineering For Us All (E4USA), All rights reserved.


Engineering for US All (e4usa) is supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF Award Number 1849430. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Engineering.

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