"Jolts and Volts" brings scientific fun for tomorrow's engineers
NEW PALTZ -- The School of Science and Engineering at the State University of New York at New Paltz will host more than 500 children and teen-agers from the four-county region in an all-day event on Wednesday, Feb. 25, to celebrate National Engineer Week. The theme of the event, "New Faces of Engineering," is designed to introduce students from the region's school districts to the world of engineering.
Throughout the morning, students from grades 7 through 12 will participate in hands-on mechanical and electrical projects led by New Paltz professors and students and visit displays of products designed by engineers from more than 25 national and international businesses. One of the more notable displays planned is one that will feature some of the actual Battlebots that have appeared on the popular Comedy Central cable television station.
In addition, children will participate in instructional workshops in which professional engineers will teach children about their engineering concentrations. One of the workshops will feature a lesson on voice modulation, at which each child will build their own functional voice modulator device.
Then, at noon, special guest and keynote speakers John Cohn, Ph.D., who is known as "IBM's own Einstein," and Maria Ebling, Ph.D., a research staff member at IBM, will perform science and technology demonstrations in the "Jolts and Volts" electricity show at the Studley Theatre. Cohn has previously performed this same show at Walt Disney World.
The duo will select inventors from the past, discuss what they invented and then relate it to the present with a number of visual demonstrations. For example, Cohn will discuss Thomas Edison as the inventor of the light bulb. The ensuing demonstration involves sending 110 volts through a pickle, which will light up and smoke.
Steven Poskanzer, president of SUNY New Paltz, said, "As technology and its ever-increasing applications become more a part of our society's future, it is important today that we continue to keep our children's interest sparked in engineering. Through this fun-filled and educational day, our engineering program has found a great way to help share their knowledge with the region's kids."
Cohn is an IBM veteran whose technical contributions span almost every type of silicon product built by IBM during his 21-year tenure. He is also active in educational issues at a local, state and national level and spends time in schools around the country with his traveling electricity show, where he uses radio waves, lightning bolts, robots and glowing pickles to teach children about the science of electricity. Cohn received a B.S. in electrical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1981), and a Ph.D. in computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University (1991), with the help of an IBM Resident Study Fellowship.
Ebling, a research staff member at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center in Hawthorne, manages a team that builds middleware to support context-aware computing. She volunteers with IBM's "Take Our Children to Work Day" and with IBM's EXITE (Exploring Interests in Technology and Engineering ) camps, which exposes middle school-aged girls to science and engineering. She has a B.S. in mathematics with a computer science option from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif. (1988), and an M.S. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa. (1992). She received her Ph.D. in computer science form Carnegie Mellon University (1998).
Lead sponsors for the event include IBM Corporation, Philips Semiconductors, Plasmaco and Industry Street Systems.
Information on this, and all other National Engineers Week programs and events, is available at www.eweek.org.
Note to media: If you plan on attending this event, please contact the SUNY New Paltz Office of Public Affairs at (845) 257-3245. For more information on the School of Science and Engineering at SUNY New Paltz, visit www.newpaltz.edu/sse.
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.