David Langus Rodriguez of Lincoln Laboratory helps three students use development boards.
David Langus Rodriguez teaches students about Bluetooth-based proximity detection using development boards at the 13th Annual STEM Career Exploration Event at Bridgewater State University.

Members of the Laboratory's LL EduCATE (Lincoln Laboratory Courses for Accessible, Technical Education) and Beaver Works teams volunteered at the MassHire Greater Brockton Workforce Board’s 13th Annual STEM Career Exploration Event on March 21. This event was organized for high school students from underserved and underrepresented communities who have an interest in STEM. More than 120 high school students from 14 different schools in the Brockton and South Shore areas attended the event at Bridgewater State University.
LL EduCATE develops lessons for middle and high school students by curating and organizing STEM materials around common, core topics. For this event, the LL EduCATE team led an activity called "Bluetooth Bandit." This activity aimed to teach students about the concept of Bluetooth-based proximity detection through a hide-and-seek-style game with a small development board. While explaining the activity, the Laboratory volunteers touched on the physics of radio-frequency propagation and provided real-world examples of phone-to-phone Bluetooth chirp communication (i.e., the "find my phone" feature). After the activity, the team participated in a panel where they answered questions related to STEM career paths and discussed how diversity can be introduced to STEM careers. 
"The highlight of the day for me was when I discovered that a few of the students in my group were more comfortable speaking French than English, and I was able to utilize my French skills to explain the activity to them," says Juliette Garcia-Flahaut, an associate staff member in the Homeland Sensors and Analytics Group. "It's rare that I get to see the benefit of speaking another language in my world of engineering, but in that moment, I felt that I was able to use language to connect more with these students."
Beaver Works aims to expose a new generation of students to opportunities in engineering, research, and service to the nation and world. At the outreach event, the Beaver Works team ran a wind-turbine demo that challenged the students to create their own replica of a wind turbine. In so doing, students had to cut turbine blades out of card stock in various shapes, modifying and testing the design to see if they could increase the voltage generated when the turbine was exposed to wind.

"We saw heart-shaped propellers; curly ones; and thick, thin, big, and small versions all get tested," says Joel Grimm, a technical staff member in the ISR and Tactical Systems Division. "The students learned that it was okay to fail and try again (and again), and they learned how to experiment in a way to get better performance."
Volunteers for the outreach event included LL EduCATE members Juliette Garcia-Flahaut Juliana Furgala, and Jeffrey Lim, and David Langus Rodriguez of the Secure Resilient Systems and Technology Group; Beaver Works members Joel Grimm and Lisa Kelley; and Chiamaka Agbasi-Porter and Daphne Maldonado of the Communications and Community Outreach Office.

"I'm grateful for the outreach office for providing opportunities like this for staff to give back to the community," Garcia-Flahaut says. "My hope is that with more events like these, we can encourage students from underserved schools to explore and be curious about potential careers in STEM."