Revisiting an award-winning outreach program

Published 05.04.2022

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The five Cadettes pose in lab, amid robots and the IEEE chapter's banner.The team that delivered a "outstanding" program (from left): Chesebrough, Ocampo, Daily, Knepp, Heberlig, Jones, Nimoy, Watson, Highland and Long.Ocampo works with the visiting Girl Scouts.Dailey and Ocampo enlighten the Scouts in one of the day's three badge sessions.Recognition as Penn College's "Outstanding Program of the Year" among student organizations begs a deeper dive into the resourcefulness that brought the campus IEEE chapter such acclaim.

Advised by Scott D. Neuhard, assistant professor of electronics, the club last month developed and executed a community service initiative that involved teaching a troop of Girl Scouts about robotics and allowed them to earn one badge each in programming, designing and showcasing a robot.

"From engineering to programming to digital arts to psychology, developing robots lets you draw from talents in a wide range of areas," says the Girl Scout booklet that defines the badge requirements. "Maybe someday you can help invent what our future looks like!"

The five-hour IEEE event – a template for future opportunities to teach youngsters about possibilities in the field – helped five Cadettes from Troop 62057 in Lewisburg gain exposure to programming, sensors, the parts and design of a robot, proper documentation practices, and how to showcase a robot. Hands-on activities included manipulating code on a mobile device to control an mBot, building a simple pressure sensor, wiring an industrial proximity sensor and manipulating a six-axis Kuka robot arm.

Chapter members involved in the program, lending their knowledge and specialties to give back to the community in a meaningful way, are Brendan Chesebrough, of Josephine; Rebecca Marie Daily, of South Williamsport (incoming secretary); George Matthew Heberlig, of Elizabethtown; Michael Edward Highland II, of Slatington (outgoing vice chair); Wyatt David Jones, of Carlisle (incoming chair); Owen Dean Knepp, of Jersey Shore; ; Colton Michael Eugene Long (outgoing secretary), of Northumberland; Mahedi Yasir Nimoy, of Stroudsburg (incoming treasurer); Julio Cesar Ocampo, of Landenberg (incoming vice chair); and Devin S. Watson, of Shippensburg (outgoing chair).

Photos provided by Neuhard and Sara Exley, troop leader