Student Outreach

Discover E

Discover E (Engineering) is an evening of interesting, interactive and fun engineering, science, math and technology demonstrations for K-12 students and their parents or guardians, sponsored by ASM Los Alamos Chapter since 2003. The event has been co-sponsored by the Los Alamos Chapter of ASM International (a professional society for Metallurgical Engineers and Materials Scientists) and the Northern New Mexico Chapter of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). A new sponsor this year was the Northern New Mexico Chapter of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The event was free and open to the public.

National Engineers Week was founded in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers to bring to public attention the work and contributions of our nation's engineers. It is always celebrated at the time of George Washington's birthday, our nation's first President, who was a military engineer and land surveyor. Since 1951, beginning with President Truman, U.S. Presidents have sent special messages of appreciation to the engineering profession in recognition of the week. At its beginning, National Engineers Week included a few scattered government proclamations, dinners, and speeches. It has since grown to involve tens of thousands of engineers in a variety of community outreach activities, such as technology and education exhibits at shopping malls, to presentations of student scholarships.

The Discover E event in Los Alamos is always a busy and fun filled evening. Generally, over 300 student and adult visitors signed in and participated in over 40 demonstrations. This event is only successful because of our volunteers which included over 50 adults and over 30 students in grades 4-12. These volunteers have come from ASM, ASME, AAUW, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Girls Scouts of New Mexico Trails Troops 123, 105, 115 and 553, Los Alamos High School AP Physics and Robotics classes, and NJROTC Cadets.

Favorite activities included numerous investigations of basic engineering, science, technology and math principles including automotive engines, bridges, computer aided design, crystal structures, electrochemistry, forensic science, liquid nitrogen ice cream, momentum, Newton's laws of motion, optics, simple slide rule, vacuum cannon, waves, materials properties and materials processing. New activities this year included Let's Read Math, generators, build your own hovercraft, elevate a textbook and solar panels.

Many of the activities offered could have been used to fulfill Girl Scout, Cub Scout and Boy Scout requirements and electives. Cub and Boy Scout awards must be given through the pack or troop. 172 awards (102 Junior Badges and 70 Brownie Try-Its) were given to 70 Girl Scout Brownies and Juniors from 21 different troops. Troop 123 introduced a new Engineering Interest Project Award for Girl Scouts in grades 6 through 12. A few local teachers gave their students extra credit for attending or participating in the event as an activity demonstrator. For more information about this or next year's event, contact Dr. Beverly Aikin, bevaikin@lanl.gov.