Sparking kids’ interest in science, engineering

Materials Science and Engineering Professor Vicky Doan-Nguyen has a knack for tapping into kids’ innate curiosity to get them excited about science. She also wants every child – especially girls – to know anyone can be a scientist or engineer.

Since joining Ohio State in 2017, Doan-Nguyen has spearheaded two outreach programs that are successfully engaging central Ohio kids in STEM. During the second annual Scoping Out Solar Energy day, held in partnership with the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland, 25 excited Girl Scouts learned about renewable energy and storage, built and raced battery- and solar-powered model cars and used electron microscopes.

Last fall, in partnership with Columbus nonprofit Gladden Community House, Doan-Nguyen and 10 engineering students conducted monthly hands-on activities with 15 to 35 fifth-graders. The program exposes kids to renewable energy and materials science concepts, as well as what scientists and engineers do in real-life.

“It’s a great time to start talking to students about science and go into depth about the scientific concepts they’re learning in class,” she said. “And get them to start thinking, ‘This is something I could be interested in and pursue as a career.’”


Reposted with permission from Issue 26 of Buckeye Engineering, page 2.