By Eric Lanke
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’ve written before about the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP)—the network of fluid power research laboratories, academic faculty, graduate and undergraduate students at seven universities—that is making a difference when it comes to preparing a better educated workforce for the fluid power industry. The CCEFP has created a 500% increase in the number of fluid power focused advanced degrees awarded in the United States, with almost half of its graduates going on to work in the fluid power industry. Some CCEFP graduates decide to stay in academia—and that’s a good thing, because they bring an interest and focus on fluid power to institutions around the United States and around the world.
Roxanne Moore is one of those graduates, a former postdoctoral fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and now a Research Engineer with Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Mathematics, Science and Computing (CEISMC). Roxanne describes CEISMC as the biggest on-campus hub for Georgia Tech’s K-12 outreach efforts.
When I asked Roxanne about her experiences in the CCEFP, what they meant for her academic career, and how she is helping to grow engineering among K-12 students, she said:
“During my time as a graduate student, I had spent time creating dynamic models of fluid power systems. I used those models to run optimizations and learned how to identify the most important variables using different screening methods and sensitivity analyses. I learned what it meant to model a system under uncertainty and how to glean useful information from that model while knowing its limitations. I effectively do all of those things now, but with school environments, using agent-based models to capture the different agent relationships and attributes that comprise a school setting.
“I’m currently working on two NSF grants that target K-12 education. They will help me continue these modeling efforts with more schools, and to continue writing engineering curriculum for middle and high school technology classes. In terms of curriculum development, I am actively working with 2 middle school technology teachers and 1 high school teacher. This means I am currently reaching about 700 middle school students and about 35 high school students per year in terms of exposure to engineering curriculum. In addition to my work on these grants, I have taught a sophomore-level design class in the mechanical engineering department here at Georgia Tech and plan to continue my college-level teaching efforts.”
Roxanne is just one of the many new faces in academic fluid power who is helping to bring hydraulics and pneumatics to a new generation of students.
Want to learn more? Visit www.ccefp.org.
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