As a not-for-profit serving the defense and intelligence communities, Riverside Research is invested in developing the next generation of great scientists and engineers. The organization is the presenting sponsor of this year’s WashingtonExec’s STEM Symposium, bringing several hands-on demonstrations in hopes of sparking curiosity to young students.
“The future of our nation relies on the students who are in school today,” says Riverside Research President and CEO, Dr. Steve Omick. “For both our company and our nation, it’s so important to nurture curiosity in STEM education at a young age.”
Riverside Research operates a series of laboratories called the Open Innovation Center (OIC). Researchers within these high-tech labs perform applied research in the areas of artificial intelligence and machine learning, plasma physics, optics and photonics, and radar engineering. Recognizing the OIC as a model for how STEM education translates to careers that support our national interest, Riverside Research has developed a mini-OIC to educate students on real-world applications of the STEM topics they’re learning in school. The mini-OIC is open for business at the STEM Symposium at the Nysmith School for the Gifted in Herndon, VA, on 30 March.
Within the mini-OIC, students will have the opportunity to participate in hands-on demonstrations on artificial intelligence, plasma physics, optics, and radar engineering. Students will also be able to talk one-on-one with scientists and engineers who have built careers from their STEM educations.
Hands-on demonstration topics:
Artificial intelligence: By dancing a few moves from popular kids’ dances, students will learn how AI systems track and recognize movement.
Machine learning: Students will trace a digit (1-9) in the air using their hand. A machine learning algorithm will process the video and display the number drawn, demonstrating cutting-edge machine learning research.
Radar: The organization’s radar engineers are bringing a working radar to demonstrate how waves are used to track an object’s position and speed. Students will have the chance to move in front of the radar, which will recognize the student’s movement and speed.
Optics: Using a miniature model of the earth and moon in space, students will use lasers to deliver a message from earth to a satellite and back again. This puzzle demonstrates the capabilities of optical communications.
Plasma physics: Investigating a small plasma globe, students will learn about the fourth and most prevalent state of matter. Experimenting with a disconnected fluorescent lamp, they’ll learn about electromagnetics as the lamp lights up, or ionizes, within the electric field generated by the plasma globe. They will learn how plasma conducts electricity and responds to outside influence.
The mini-OIC is also supported by two non-profits. The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) joins the mini-OIC to provide a hands-on activity in which students will learn about satellites and get to build their own. The satellite they build at USGIF’s station unlocks a special learning curriculum at all of the other demonstration stations in the mini-OIC, through which students will learn how artificial intelligence, machine learning, optics, and plasma all support the operation of satellites. CyberPatriot is joining the mini-OIC to teach important cyber security principles. Students who complete the CyberPatriot activities will earn their cape as a cyber hero.
The STEM Symposium is one of the National Capital Region’s largest STEM events. It is open to all and is free to attend.