In spring of 2019, the American rock band OK Go announced a competition inviting children (ages 11-18) around the world to design an art experiment which could only be done in space. This competition was done in partnership with Blue Origin and the University of _______. Once two winning designs were chosen, undergraduate research students in the _____ lab became responsible for the full design and build of the payloads, working in consultation with both the children who proposed the idea and the band members. This project was both a major K-12 outreach project and also an intensive undergraduate research experience.
This paper will look at the following three elements of this project:
The design and execution (including flight results) of the two winning designs: Dark Origin and Cosmic Song
A reflection on the opportunities and challenges of running this project as an undergraduate research experience
The competition itself, including how it was promoted, the number of entries, and general logistics
We will share lessons learned from this project both in terms of promoting creative engineering opportunities for a K-12 audience, and empowering undergraduate students to play lead roles in aerospace engineering projects. Additionally, detailed information on the two payloads, including schematics, will be included.
Undergraduate Research Assistant for the Playful Learning Lab at St. Thomas under the direction of Dr. Annmarie Thomas. Served as the Art in Space contest project lead. Third-year Mechanical Engineering major with a Peace Engineering minor. Has led many STEM activities and is interested in using engineering to encourage peoples' interests and collaborate with developing countries.
I am an undergraduate student studying mechanical engineering and math and the University of St. Thomas. I am the lab operations manager at the Playful Learning Lab
Patrick Roche is an undergraduate majoring in Electrical Engineering and is a member of the Circus Science team and the Code + Cords team and works with both projects to apply STEAM concepts in new and dynamic ways.
Collin Goldbach is a mechanical engineering student at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul Minnesota with research interests in environmental sustainability, clean power and aerospace technology. He is guided by his passion to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers with exciting, hands-on learning.
Dr. Besser, PE, ENV SP, holds a PhD in education and MS and BS in civil engineering. Currently, she is civil engineering chair and Center for Engineering Education director. Previous experience includes faculty positions in diverse universities where she
Jeff Jalkio is currently a physics professor at the University of St. Thomas. Jeff worked for thirteen years in industry in the fields of optical sensor design and process control. In 1984, he co-founded CyberOptics Corporation, where he led engineering efforts as Vice President of Research. In 1997 he returned to academia, joining the engineering faculty of the University of St. Thomas and has taught courses in electronics, digital system design, mathematics, physics, circuit theory, electromagnetics, statistical process control, computing, mechatronics, control theory, metrology and design.
AnnMarie Thomas is a professor in the School of Engineering and the Opus Colluege of Business at the University of St. Thomas where she is the innovation director of the UST Center for Engineering Education. Her research group, the Playful Learning Lab, focuses on engineering and design education for learners of all ages.
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