With course request a little over a month away, our preparations for Virginia Tech’s first Undergraduate Opportunities Fair have been getting into full swing. The Undergraduate Opportunities Fair will showcase some of the wide variety of programs and opportunities that Virginia Tech has to offer its undergraduates. Details have been quickly coming together since we decided over the summer that holding this Fair during Course Request would be ideal since students are actively considering their academic and career plans during this time. We’ve spent the past 1.5 months working on key details such as time, location, how the event will be organized, and what kind of opportunities and programs that we want to be highlighted in the Fair.
The Fair will be located on the east side of the Drillfield (the half that’s closer to the library and Squires). This puts the Undergraduate Opportunities Fair right in the middle of traffic to and from classes, maximizing the number of students that can learn more about the programs being showcased. The Fair and displays will be tailored to students who may be between classes and only have a few minutes to browse the displays. In the afternoon, there will be interest and information sessions for students to learn more about specific programs.
Delving through the webpages of Colleges and Departments for opportunities we felt were appropriate confirmed our concern that many opportunities are difficult to initially discover and do not have much information on the web. This is one way in which The Fair can be a key resource to students, especially those that might be interested in involving themselves outside of their field of choice. It took hours to learn what programs exist, what they are, who to contact, and how they could be involved. With the Fair we can connect these programs directly to students that might be interested in them.
Partnering with the Upward Bound and Talent Search programs and the Engineering Science Department at Virginia Tech, we organized demonstrations of two very interesting labs that undergraduates are partaking in: Bio-Inspired Fluids Lab (BIF) and the Multiphysics Research Group. Hoping to inspire high school students to consider science and engineering and excite them about the possibilities in the field, undergraduate and graduate students put together fun demonstrations for high-schoolers to learn more about how interesting their future in science can be.
The Bio-Inspired Fluids Lab (BIF) brought in a high-speed camera for students to play with. Students were able to smash nuts and oranges and watch it in slow motion (and backwards!). They were also able to get in front of the camera themselves and watch what their lips look like when they vibrated them.
The Multiphysics Research Group brought in ferrofluids, which is basically a fluid that reacts to magnets. Watch this video to get a better idea. Students were able to play with ferrofluids and magnets, watching how the two interact with each other.
Afterwards we asked for feedback and the students said that they want us to bring more experiments to them and that many of them found science and engineering more interesting after today. They said that if they could change something about it they would have added more time so they can do more experiments and have time to try and figure things out for themselves.
It was a phenomenal day! Pictures are below:
Bio-Inspired Fluids Lab
Feeling fog created from ultrasonic waves and finding that it is still room temperature water!
Getting ready to be captured on a high-speed camera
Vibrating lips on a high-speed camera: 400fps
Introducing the Ferrofluids Lab
Demonstrating with tiny but powerful magnets
Teaching the basics of magnets for the ferrofluids demonstration
2 students having a discussion on their own about magnets
Upward Bound is an organization that helps students prepare to be the first in their families to go to college by providing tutoring, study strategies, test-taking skills and more. Most importantly, Upward Bound gives students knowledge on how to research and apply to college and scholarships.