University Relations – Communications
April 19, 2016
Testing the efficiency of your baseball swing and exploring the virus-killing X-Terminator Drone were just two opportunities from more than 50 hands-on exhibits featured at STEAMworks, a University of Arizona event designed to inspire high school students to pursue studies and careers in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM).
STEAMworks showcased STEAM in action through interactive exhibits and workshops. Teachers brought more than 600 students from 15 Tucson-area high schools to the event at the Student Union Memorial Center.
While some attendees explored virtual reality via Oculus Rift, others burned rubber in a simulated Formula One race car or snacked on Edible Optics after looking through the sugar lenses. Students also had the opportunity to see 3-D printing, drone swarm software and mosquito trapping research. Local and national companies were present to talk to students about potential career options in STEAM-related fields.
Coder workshops gave attendees experience at coding their own websites in HTML via Raspberry Pi, a credit-card-size computer used to teach programming languages such as Scratch and Python, encouraging skills that translate into real-world careers. Adobe also presented a Web creation workshop, demonstrating Muse Creative Cloud software for graphically building mobile-responsive websites. Virtual reality was the topic of another workshop, covering the recent innovations in VR technology. Students in the Design Challenge competed to build kinetic structures from common office supplies.
"This was a win-win event," said Kelly South, assistant director of communications and marketing in the UA Office of the Chief Information Officer. "High school students were able to see and get excited about the opportunities in STEAM, which is why we did this event. Our UA student exhibitors were the 'rock stars' for the day, showcasing their amazing talents and projects with a younger generation of students and inspiring them to pursue STEAM in their future."
The Science of Baseball exhibit received the award of Best in Show. At the exhibit's booth, attendees were able to swing a baseball bat with a sensor inside of it while their stats were recorded. The data from the sensor offered real-time results for swing efficiency, impact speed, acceleration and ball trajectory.
STEAMworks was made possible by the support of Adobe, Cisco and an array of University, business and community sponsors, as well as the efforts of many volunteers. The STEAMworks Planning Committee included representatives from the UA Office of the Chief Information Officer, STEM Learning Center, UA Early Academic Outreach, Tech Launch Arizona, Eller College of Management, University Libraries, and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering Student Branch, as well as SCAD-Media, Cisco and cStor.