Bringing the Excitement of Engineering and Science to a Careers Fair

Achievement date: 
2014
Outcome/accomplishment: 

Children and young adults experienced a taste of the excitement of science and engineering at a Careers Fair in Northern Virginia in September 2013, including an exhibit of WrestleBrainia 3000. The educational game simulates arm wrestling in a demonstration of neural-inspired devices developed at the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, an Engineering Research Center (ERC) funded by the National Science Foundation, with its headquarters at the University of Washington.

Impact/benefits: 

Crowds were about 10 percent larger than is typical at the Dulles Town Center mall in Sterling, Va., during the two-day Careers Fair – with some 16,000 people at the mall during fair hours on that Saturday alone. At least 18 media outlets carried news of the event.

Explanation/Background: 

The CSNE sent two graduate students to run the WrestleBrainia exhibit and interact with young people attending the fair, which was called “Change the World: Science & Engineering Careers.” The fair was co-sponsored by U.S. Representative Frank Wolf and the NSF with a goal of encouraging middle and high school students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. The fair also sought to raise public awareness of the innovations resulting from publicly-funded research and education projects.