Senior, Computer Science
Athens, OH 19 January 2016 –
This past weekend I had to opportunity to spend time in Columbus, judging students from around the state of Ohio in the Future City competition. The competition requires middle school students to create a virtual city model based upon technologies they believe to be possible in 50 years. Using their virtual model participants then implemented a 3D physical ‘splice’ of their city.
When designing their city, participants have to meet certain requirements, such as zero waste, high recyclability, and clear distinct city zones (Industrial, residential.)
My role at the event was to judge model presentations. The model presentations required each team to prepare a 5-7 minute speech that addressed the year’s theme: “Waste not, want not.” During the speech, participants described what they learned about the engineering design and implementation process.
On top of this, I got to see what these younger children believed the technologies of the future would be like. The most trending technology was pneumatic tubes running from every house which would automatically sort trash when sent through the tubes.
Some of the most interesting innovations were those that leveraged current technology in new ways. Many cities developed vertical farms in residential skyscrapers to conserve space while also creating a group gardening area to foster community.
The future cities competition allowed me to see what younger minds are interested in; the extent to which they’ll dedicate their time and energy to completing something they care about.
Senior, Computer Science
Athens, OH 8 November 2015 –
This past week I had the opportunity to volunteer with the university’s professional computer science organization. The organization brought local middle school students on campus to educate them on programming concepts.
The event was titled “Hour of Code” and was done in tandem with the national drive to teach computer programming to a wider audience. Participants programmed in a language called scratch that is essentially drag and drop building blocks that control a character on a screen.
At the event, students would navigate their characters through preset challenges while fellow students and myself would offer support to the students when they would get stuck.
The Hour of Code surprised me because students very quickly began asking for “advanced” features. These advanced features required more knowledge than the drag and drop blocks offered. When this arose, we found ourselves beginning to explain basic programming concepts to the students and helping them implement these advanced features.
Looking back at the event, I found it exciting to see younger students begin to get captivated by the ideas of programming. These younger students came in to play games with scratch and quickly began asking how to implement true programs. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with the students while they were on campus.
Junior, Computer Science
Athens, OH 20 January 2015 –
This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Columbus with a few of my fellow Engineering Ambassadors to assist in the judging of the Future City competition. The competition itself is geared towards middle school students. Working in small teams these students must develop a city–they must come up with a design that allows the city to both grow and be sustainable.
To add an interesting twist each year the competition has a special ‘focus.’ This year the focus is on feeding the city with exactly one protein and vegetable.
For the judging process I was placed on a team that was responsible for deciding which group would receive the ‘Best Use of Recycled Materials’ award. I admit, at first I wasn’t particularly excited about the award I was assigned to as I didn’t have any significant background in the area as other judges did. However, after talking to just the first group of students about the their design, I quickly changed my mind.
I was amazed at how much research and thought the students had put into their overall projects. When they were questioned about recycling, it went beyond the construction of the final physical city and went into the way their citizens in the city would recycle. Responses from students even took into account the geographic location of their city and how it may make certain recycling methods more suitable than others.
I found the entire experience to not only be enjoyable but also mind blowing. Getting to interact with younger students and seeing the level of thought they put into every aspect of their city design was truly amazing.