The Fischell Institute participates in Maryland Day

news story image

This past Saturday, the University of Maryland celebrated its 25th anniversary of Maryland Day, its largest annual community outreach event. The Fischell Institute was represented by Fischell Institute Fellows Chris Jewell and Reza Ghodssi labs. 

Jewell lab at Maryland DayThe Jewell Research Lab featured family-friendly and hands-on engineering experiments using materials like baking soda and vinegar to create small explosions in a bag. This experiment taught kids about gas laws, chemical reagents, and how dosing reagents can alter outcomes. The lab also offered demonstrations using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream that attendees could enjoy.

"Maryland Day is such a fantastic opportunity to connect with the community. Sharing our work and creating exciting demonstrations is a really fun way for us to engage the next generation of bioengineers," said Jewell. 

Jewell Lab member Sean Carey, a bioengineering Ph.D. student and NIH Fellow participated again this year and had fun helping the kids do their science experiments and assisting with the liquid nitrogen demonstrations.

"It was cool to see the community's enthusiasm for learning about our lab and eating the ice cream we made," Carey said. 

As a first-time Maryland Day volunteer, Jewell Lab member Corrine Martin, an Aspire Undergraduate Aspire Fellow and Goldwater Scholar in the bioengineering department, noted how much she enjoyed seeing the kids getting their hands dirty with science experiments, especially how the liquid nitrogen fog and promise of ice cream attracted big crowds for every demonstration. 

"I don't know who was more excited about the experimentsthe kids or Dr. Jewell," Martin exclaimed. 

The Jewell Lab loves these outreach events and educating kids on basic science and their lab research. They hope this event will inspire people to learn more about bioengineering. 

In addition to Carey and Martin, the following lab members also helped at the event: Camilla Edwards, Ryan McIlvaine, Smitty Oakes, Veeru Patil, Shrey Shah, and Ruochen Shen. 

On top of the Jewell Lab demonstrations, Ghodssi's MEMS Sensors and Actuators Laboratory (MSAL)invited visitors to their lab to show off the scientific concepts they use in devices. The lab’s ingestible devices, accelerometer wand and heart rate monitor were especially interesting to kids. 

"This was our lab's 22nd Maryland Day since I came to UMD in 2000. It is always a joy for us to showcase what we do on campus," Ghodssi said. "The early exposure to science and technology we offer children during their visits to our research laboratories is the most rewarding part of what we do at Maryland Day."

The Ghodssi lab took Maryland Day as an opportunity to showcase how the sensors and actuators they research are a part of daily life. For example, their sensor for heart rate monitoring is similar to those used in fitness bands and health monitoring devices. Accelerometers are used in phones, cars, and video game consoles. 

Ghodssi Lab at Maryland Day

By introducing the public to their research, the lab aims to get people thinking about these technologies and how they impact society. 

"Getting the opportunity to talk about our work with individuals from the community at events like Maryland Day renews my motivation to continue innovating," said lab member Michael Straker, a bioengineering Ph.D. student.

Fellow lab member Sydney Overton, an electrical engineering Ph.D. student, also noted how much she enjoyed the event. 

"I was excited to be a part of it! As a scientist, sharing our devices and results is just as important as conducting experiments," Overton said. "It was rewarding to see visitors interested and engaged by our work and children interacting with our technology demonstrations." 

The lab’s goal at Maryland Day was to get children excited about science and engineering. They hoped that allowing visitors to see and interact with their research would increase their knowledge of MEMS and interest in engineering.

In addition to Straker and Overton, the following lab members participated in the event: Jinjing Han, Brian Holt, Peiyao Jia, Josh Levy, Katie Ruland, and Justin Stine.

Published May 4, 2023