Students, clubs and classes have been working in SMC to prepare for the upcoming showcase of real-world applications of the concepts they learn in class.
“We just wanted to provide a platform for students and clubs to showcase their projects they’ve been working on, like research … throughout the academic year,” Knox Engineering President and sophomore Nrepesh Joshi said.
Part of the inspiration came from I-Fair, with Joshi hoping that something similar could be organized to demonstrate what students can do with what they learn in SMC.
Some of the projects include a project on ferrofluids by Chemistry Club, a virtual reality set-up by the class led by Associate Professor of Computer Science Monica McGill and a remote control vehicle built by junior Will Parkinson using Arduinos mini-computers.
The Showcase is being organized by Knox Engineering. Joshi said they see it as part of their mission of expanding learning outside the classroom and letting students have chances to apply what they learned.
“This is our third year [so] we just wanted to promote learning out of the classroom. I was just like thinking about it, it’d be pretty cool to actually showcase all of the projects that we’ve done and it’s gonna motivate students to work on other things as well,” Joshi said.
They named it “SMC-Down” because they hope that in future years, it could include a competitive element.
Arduinos have played a pretty prominent role in Knox Engineering’s events recently, including being the focus of their latest engineering crash course held on Saturday, April 21. Their 3-D printer, which they built themselves, is even made with one.
Joshi is the new president of Knox Engineering. Since its start in the spring of 2016, the club has been led by founding members, so Joshi is excited to have a new exec board that will help continue the club.
“For the past two years, it’s been founding members, but this time, we’re growing, right? So we really wanted to introduce this to more people as well,” Joshi said.
Parkinson is contributing the RC car mentioned above and an external display he made from a laptop monitor that can connect to inputs with an HDMI cable. He will also be showing a hand-crank display to demonstrate the connection between magnetism and electricity and the early stages of a temperature monitoring system he will be working on as a research project over the summer.
“So you have your coffee, having an LED that changes color. So if it’s too hot, it’s red. If it’s a good, drinkable temperature, the LED turns green. And if it’s too cold, it’s blue. So I’m going to be developing, sort of implementing that more into something that can actually be used with a coffee mug,” he said.
Right now, he just has the code for using the temperature sensor to change the color of the LED.
For Parkinson, the showcase gives a chance to really motivate students to finish their projects and to encourage those who have not yet done so to learn with their hands.
“It’s really the best way to learn: you get a tutorial and then as you build it you learn, okay ‘Oh, what does this piece of code do,’ ‘So if I do this, this does this.’ And then you sort of learn as you go,” he said. “I think the difference between building something and assembling É is you can explain how it works.”
Joshi emphasized that the club is still welcoming new members and that they want the workshop to be an open workspace for anyone who is willing to learn the safety skills needed.
“People are allowed to use the space under the supervision of the shop technician or the shop coordinator. Whoever is willing to learn is welcome to,” he said.
As one of the founding members, Parkinson has watched the club find its direction over the past two years. He is especially excited by the yearly events that the club has started, from their cooperation with Nielsen Elementary to the crash courses to the Showcase.
“We have things we can expect, okay, these are what we’re going to be doing for this year. With that, I think that sort of keeps the club alive, we sort of know what we’re going to be doing this year and then have something to drive us to do more projects as well,” Parkinson said.