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Valley students receive hands-on engineering experience


April 02, 2009

About 70 students from five Phoenix-area high schools participated in the Spring ‘09 semester Fifth Annual Science Extravaganza hosted by the Arizona State University chapter of the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES).

Students took part in a full day of hands-on engineering and science activities designed to introduce them to college life and engineering career opportunities.

In a Get to College workshop, they learned about the college application process and financial aid opportunities.

The Strawberry DNA workshop, presented by ASU molecular bioscience major Keysha Gonzalez, taught students the science of DNA extraction through a fun, fruit-filled activity (see picture). Students added a soap-based solution to a strawberry solution, then strained the mixture and added alcohol to extract the fruit’s DNA.

Members of Phoenix’s Carl Hayden High School Falcon Robotics Team presented the story behind their success in an international collegiate robotics competition and gave an impressive demonstration of the functionality of the robots they had built recently.

Students also took on the Sustainability Challenge, presented by the MAES Phoenix Professional Chapter. Designed to stimulate ingenuity in engineering, it challenged students to construct a model city with various household materials (spaghetti, straws, water bottles, and aluminum foil) on a specified layout. The simulated city had to provide potable water, sewer services, electricity and food.

Guest speaker Adolfo Maldonado capped off the day with an account of his rise from the neighborhoods of South Phoenix to a professional career in engineering, as well as a leadership role in the local Hispanic community.