2010 EE Summer Academy

Friday, March 12, 2010

2010 Summer Academy

The Summer Electrical Engineering Academy at The University of Tulsa for Precollege Students is a commuter academy that makes students aware of careers in engineering through hands-on design projects, seminars, industry professional interaction, and company tours. The faculty of the Academy includes professors from the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Department at TU and several high school teachers. The teachers receive training prior to the academy and use this training to help students with the academy’s activities. Teachers also receive support to implement the academy exercises, or similar ones, within their classrooms. The Director is Peter LoPresti, (918)-631-3274 or peter-lopresti@utulsa.edu.

Objectives:

Employment opportunities in science and engineering occupations are expected to increase through the end of the decade. However, there has been a declining trend in enrollment in undergraduate science and engineering majors at U.S. universities. In fact, the U.S. trails many other industrialized nations in the percentage of bachelor's degrees in science and engineering. A contributing factor to this problem is that engineering lacks a formal presence in K-12 education. As a result, many qualified students are unaware of career opportunities in science and engineering, and thus fail to pursue technical majors in college.

The objectives of our program are:

  1. To make students aware of engineering career opportunities through hands-on design projects, seminars, and tours of local companies.
  2. To train middle school and high school teachers in engineering related activities and provide support to the teachers in implementing academy exercises within the teachers’ classroom during the regular school year. 
  3. To attract more Oklahoma students into engineering study to help meet Oklahoma technical employer needs. 
  4. To illustrate the need for students to develop math and science skills to tackle challenging and interesting engineering problems.

Basic Information: 

  • Academy dates are June 21st – June 25th, 2010. 
  • Students entering grades 8 through 11 can apply.
  • Teacher training will occur the week prior to the Academy.
  • Commuter Academy: Students are dropped off between 8am and 8:30am, students are picked up about 4:30pm. 
  • The student application forms must be submitted by April 17th to be considered for the Academy.   Forms
    received after that date will be put on a waiting list in the order they are received.
  • The teacher application forms should be submitted by May 1st to be considered for the Academy.
  • Sponsored by OSRHE, so there is no cost for the Academy.
  • A closing program open to family and friends is held on the afternoon of the 10th.

Example Activities:

Communication and Team Building:
The purpose of this activity was to explore the various ways that groups of people communicate and work together to arrive at a common goal. The first part of the exercise involved an ice-breaking game where the students were each given game pieces, a subset of the game rules, and basic instructions, and then had to put together the highest value hand possible. The students had to exchange information and communicate with peers, decipher conflicting rules, and plan a strategy for success. 

Electric Car:
The students explore the concept of resistor-capacitor (RC) circuits with respect to the application of powering an electric car. Students work in teams to build a small K’Nex car for testing purposes. The students then studied how quickly the capacitor charged through a circuit and discharged the capacitor through their car. The students then competed to see whose car would travel the
farthest on a single charge.

Wheatstone Bridge:
Students will build a simple bridge circuit comprising two bonded strain gages and two precision resistors. The strain gages will be attached to an aluminum flat and students will use a voltmeter to measure the output voltage as weights are added. The data will be translated to a spreadsheet to determine the calibration data.

Vehicle Weighing:
Students will build a simple bridge circuit comprising two bonded strain gages and two precision resistors. The strain gages will be attached to an aluminum flat and students will use a voltmeter to measure the output voltage as weights are added. The data will be translated to a spreadsheet to determine the calibration data.

Accident Reconstruction:
Students will go and witness a staged crash using the vehicles measured and examined previously. The crash is performed by pulling a vehicle using a wire cable system into a stationary vehicle. Each vehicle has a remote controlled pneumatic braking system and the crash area will be clear of all personnel. This staged crash scenario has been successfully conducted throughout the country, including a law camp at the University of Miami in Oxford, OH. Both documentation video and high-speed video will be gathered for the students. The culminating exercise is a competition for the students to predict the impact speed as recorded by radar. This exercise requires the use of data from previous days. .

>Professional Presentations:
Each group creates a five-minute talk about one project or theme of the academy using PowerPoint. The students are given guidelines on good presentation practices and present their talks at the closing banquet with their families and friends as an audience.

Contact:
Peter LoPresti
918-631-3274
peter-lopresti@utulsa.edu