2016 STEM Outreach – IEEE Foundation Grant Initiative

The IEEE Foundation supported the program called “Young Minds Know About Imaging, Water, Agriculture” that involved the IEEE Buenaventura Section and the support of multiple advocate groups that promote the love of science, technology, engineering and math in Ventura County in Southern California. This initiative took place over two major events designed for middle school children.

Engineering a Better Green Pepper

On Sep 10, 2016, a field trip outing, nicknamed “Engineering a Better Green Pepper” involved 50 middle school children in workshops in the heart of Oxnard, amidst, fields of green peppers of the Terry Farms.

We organized 5 hands on experiences with IR imaging, irrigation technology, and discussions about biotech for plant optimization, and friendly bugs for pest control. A precision agriculture drone flew over the field of green peppers, controlled by an FAA certified pilot who recorded infrared images from the sky and showed how the IR images pointed to plants that needed more water or nutrients. 

50 middle schoolers participated in one-of-a-kind Introduction to Engineering experience. Under the mentoring of 11 engineers and 7 parents, everyone arrived at 7:30 am in Thousand Oaks to take the bus to Oxnard. Credit must be given to the amazing tour de force that engineer Sherisse Hughes did to line up this experience.

This program was customized for middle schoolers: a field trip to discover cutting edge technologies and practices in the art of growing crops. Will Terry, owner of Terry Farm was the gracious host. Five scientists/engineers spent 3 hours with the children in 4 rotations. Kids (and mentors) went home with a nano-drone. This field trip was funded by an IEEE Foundation grant.

Players of the Light

On Oct 8, 2016, 63 female students of secondary and primary schools came to La Reina High School & Middle School from various parts of Ventura County to engage in 9 hands on workshops set up in 12 parallel rooms. 24 mentors helped the girls learn and engage in the workshops intended to teach through the use of photonics and solar based technologies how high tech can make a difference. Some of the topics covered included solar energy, smart re-use of waste, and the way to look at the world in the optical spectrum not visible to the naked eye. One of the workshops used virtual reality. The parents program included 4 different presentations intended to inspire them to anticipate the impact that their daughter will bring to society if she chooses to attend college and pursue a career in science, technology, engineering or math.

See the report on our web site for pictures from the events.