Community Service

18 02 2006

Today was Intel Engineering Day at Montebello Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona.  This was my first day to serve my community and help those who are less priviledged than me.  While this was a function sponsored by Intel (my current employer), this was a very fun and gratifying experience. Personally, the day started off pretty good, although I was fifteen minutes late for the carpool, but thanks to those who waited so that I could ride in the carpool lane in relative quickness. Once we arrived, we Intel Engineers were greeted by the principal and some bagles.  Mmmm, bagels.

Our task was to lead our groups of little budding minds in building clay boats. The exercise was designed to encourage team work and to provide a real example of how engineers solve real problems.  The rules were simple:

  • One bar of clay to a team
  • You can test your design as many times as you want, but only the last official test counts
  • The boat that holds the most number of pennies at the official test, wins

We visited two classrooms of 4th and 5th graders.  The first moment I walked in, I was quite nervous to be in front of the kids and to be representing engineers and Intel, but after the first couple of questions were asked, things went pretty smoothly.

After 3 hours with two classrooms of great kids, the whole group of Intel Engineers gathered for lunch and were met by special kids from each classroom to compete in the classic egg drop competition.  This was my first time ever to participate in such an event, but it was great to see the kids so eager to learn. Our design made it to 10ft high before it broke, but there were several key learnings from this experience for all of us.  Next time I go into an egg drop competition, I should be more prepared with a good design. 

It was great to see kids working hard on solving problems that were fun to solve.  For as much fun and learning as those kids recieved designing, building and testing their boats, I think I had as much, if not more

As Intel Engineers, our service is to promote higher education and to reenforce the need for kids to stay in school and do well in Math and Science. I can only hope our visit helps get the idea across to the kids that they can be engineers, and its fun to be an engineer.

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