DALLAS (SMU) – Tapping into the national fascination with forensic science, SMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education hosted an eye-popping, hands-on camp July 26-30 that allowed middle school girls to try the technology behind biometric identification, security and crime solving.
Providing women law enforcement officers and forensic scientists as role models challenged girls to think about non-traditional careers that put their science and math skills to work in exciting, new ways.
Each day of camp was broken into multiple sessions related to a topic of the day. Students heard a variety of speakers, did hands-on activities, and played games related to the day's topic. In addition, there was a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science, and tours of biometric access systems on the campus of SMU. Topics included iris recognition, hand geometry, fingerprints, face recognition, DNA and many more!
"Our goal was to provide a variety of topics that highlighted the key role of science, technology and engineering in forensics and real-life problem solving," said Professor Delores M. Etter, director of the Institute.
"Not only are these topics fascinating," Etter continued, "they suggest many possible applications and careers for the future. Speakers inspired students and served as role models. Games reinforced the concepts from the camp. Our goal was that students will be motivated to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)-related careers and STEM-related course work, and spread this excitement to other friends and classmates as well."
The curriculum also will be made available to a broader community via a web portal. The web portal is being developed by the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education to provide quality STEM resources to students and educators. With the materials and speaker videos provided, others can reuse individual curriculum units in a variety of ways, or even host a camp modeled after the prior year's camp.
Check out the portal at http://www.kidsahead.com/.
The mission of the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education in the Lyle School of Engineering at SMU is to increase the number and diversity of U.S. High School graduates with the enthusiasm and knowledge to pursue the engineering careers that support U.S. competition in a global economy. Before joining the Caruth Institute, Executive Director Delores Etter held two senior executive positions in the Department of Defense – Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition and Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology.