Technology

‘Making It’ camp builds kids’ interest in manufacturing

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Their assignment was serious: Design a glider that can carry a spectrometer over Lake Erie to identify algal blooms before they reach dangerous levels. Their supplies were not so serious: A shoe box, cardboard, duct tape, popsicle sticks, yarn, aluminum foil, Saran wrap and pennies. The young engineers were middle school students, mostly from Bowling Green, who signed up last month for a five-day manufacturing camp, called “Making It.” The camp was designed to help Wood County students learn about manufacturing, teamwork and local production facilities. In addition to spending one day engineering gliders at Bowling Green State University, the students also visited manufacturing sites in Wood County, including Owens-Illinois, Home Depot, Lubrizol and Northwood Industries. Students toured each of the sites to get a better picture of what modern industries look like. Penta Career Center also hosted an advanced manufacturing lab using robotics. The goal was to show students that manufacturing no longer means repetitive, thoughtless processes. In many cases, it involved high-tech engineering skills. “This is some really good hands-on experience,” said Maria Simon, of Wood County District Public Library, which was one of the camp sponsors. “It’s not just ‘Let’s make a glider.’ But let’s make one that does what we want it to do.” As the students struggled with their gliders, they heard from two NASA engineers from the Glenn Research Center, Nicole Smith and Eric Reed. “I hear you guys are going to be doing some pretty incredible stuff this week,” Smith said. Both women work with the Orion spacecraft in Sandusky. Smith is an aerospace engineer….

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Faculty Senate acts on degrees in aviation, software engineering

 By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University Faculty Senate last week took action on degrees in aviation and software engineering. Now students who study aviation at BGSU get a Bachelor’s of Science in Technology degree. That doesn’t reflect what they’ve spent four years studying, said Carl Braun, the liaison for the aviation program. When BGSU graduates apply for aviation jobs, they face questions about exactly what that degree means. “This helps the industry recognize Bowling Green as having an aviation program,” Braun said. For students, he said, “they finally get to have a reflection of their four years of hard work.” The new degree, Braun said, is simply a name change which he expects will go in place next fall. And despite requests by some alumni, it will not be retroactive. The senate also approved a new degree a Bachelor’s Science in Software Engineering. Robert Dyer, a professor of computer science, said there’s a growing need, about 17 percent a year, for software engineers. “We see a lot of demand in industry,” he said. “They want software engineers. … Software drives everything we do.” This will be only the second such program in the state, and one of the few in the region. Jake Lee, professor of computer science, said the course will require 40 credit hours with another nine electives. The curriculum was developed, he said, with an eye toward achieving accreditation by the Association of Computing Machinery. Both resolutions passed unanimously. At the meeting, Provost Rodney Rogers said BGSU was looking into adopting a 15-week semester. This comes as the University of Toledo and…


BG Women in Computing gets Google grant

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The BG Women in Computing (BGWIC) student organization at the University has received a Google igniteCS grant for a proposed mentorship program benefiting middle school girls (grades 5-8). The $10,000 grant to promote computer science education provides funding and resources for Code4Her, a new computer science mentorship program for girls. Proposed and administered by BGWIC, the program will connect middle school-aged girls with BGWIC mentors to learn about computer programming. In the session that will begin in January 2017, lessons will be come through exploration of Lego EV3 Mindstorms robots. Each girl will work with her own BGSU student mentor; the mentors are all computer science majors and BGWIC members. “Our members are very passionate about supporting girls in computer science, and we wanted to expand our outreach to the community,” said Rebeccah Knoop, BGWIC president. “We have deep admiration for Google’s commitment to making computer science accessible to all, so we are incredibly honored to have been selected. We are not a large organization, but we believe that we can have a great impact on the community and are very thankful to igniteCS for recognizing that and supporting our program.” The Google igniteCS website indicates only one other program in Ohio has received funding. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the middle school girls and the BGSU student mentors,” said BGWIC adviser Jadwiga Carlson, a computer science faculty member. “The girls are paired with BGWIC members to learn about programming and computer science education. The BGWIC members are able to share their enthusiasm and interest in computer science in hopes of encouraging…


High school teams Bet the Farm in BGSU robotics competition

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Robots invaded farm country Saturday. They came with only the best intentions though. Farmland in question was a course set up on the floor of the Stroh Center at Bowling Green State University. The robots were miniature farm tractors tricked out by 17 teams from high schools from around the state and Indiana. The teams came to compete in the fourth Falcon BEST Robotics Game Day… this year the theme was Bet the Farm. The “farm’ in this case was divided into four quadrants, one for each team. The teams had to maneuver their machines through the course to collect and plant corn seeds, harvest corn cobs from racks as well as plant lettuce, and harvest lettuce and pumpkins – all plastic facsimiles. For Laura Dietz, the advisor for the Bowling Green High School team, the event, gives students as chance “to learn engineering process and problems solving.” For the Bobcat team that problem solving involved a working on a last minute adjustment to their robot’s arm. That’s all part of the competition, said Brandi Barhite, a member of the Falcon BEST committee. “If something breaks down you have to make adjustments,” she said. In that, the robotics competition is much like a sports event. That wasn’t the only way. Parents were on hand to cheer on the teams. School mascots added to the spirit. And a couple drummers beat out their cadences between the three-minute rounds of competition. Then there were the trombones and vuvuzelas contributing tuneless blats of encouragement. The 17 teams, Barhite said, were the most since the competition started in…


High school robotics teams to compete at BGSU Oct. 8

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Teams of students from 17 area high schools and middle schools will showcase their talents during the fourth annual Falcon BEST Robotics competition Oct. 8 at Bowling Green State University. Area schools with teams competing this year are: Anthony Wayne High School, Bowling Green High School, Cardinal Stritch Catholic High School, EHOVE Career Center, Hamilton Southeastern High School, Maumee Valley Country Day School, McComb High School, Millstream Career Center, Patrick Henry High School, Paulding High School, Perrysburg High School, Port Clinton High School, Sandusky Central Catholic School, St. Francis de Sales School, St. Ursula Academy, Sylvania Southview High School, and Vanguard Technology Center. Game Day kicks off in the Stroh Center at 9:30 a.m. with opening ceremonies, which will include a welcome and parade of robots. The competition will follow at 10 a.m. as the teams and their robots master Bet the Farm 2016, a competition of skill and strategy. The event will conclude with awards at approximately 3:15 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend Game Day to support the teams and their robots as they compete; all events are free. Students are coached by dedicated and enthusiastic teachers and team mentors, some of which come from the professional tech community. Each team is provided with an identical kit of parts and equipment, and then spends a month and a half designing, building and testing a remote-controlled robot that the team expects to outperform those created by its competition. The BEST Award is presented to the top three teams that exemplify the concept of BEST – Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology. Criteria…


STEM in the Park makes learning loud, messy & fun

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Learning can be pretty loud and messy. Just ask the kids covered in foam bubbles. Or the kids making concrete. Or the ones building rockets. For the seventh year in a row, a whole lot of learning masqueraded as fun at STEM in the Park at Bowling Green State University on Saturday. “We want to make learning fun and we want to spark interest in the STEM fields” of science, technology, engineering and math, said Jenna Pollock, coordinator of the event organized by the Northwest Ohio Center for Excellence in STEM Education. An estimated 5,000 grade school kids, their parents and volunteers showed up to play. All the events were hands-on, with the messier ones relegated to the outside. There was a “Cootie Camp,” where kids could enter a black tent to get a peek at the germs covering them. There was a giant foam machine shooting foamy bubbles all over kids. There was a sloth and a vulture from the Toledo Zoo. And yes, before you ask, this is education – just in a sneaky form. “We do make it fun,” Pollock said. “They are learning without thinking they are learning.” One outside tent was devoted completely to water issues. Children – and in some cases, their inquisitive parents – got to use a remotely operated vehicle, similar to those used by oceanographers to study shipwrecks and coral reefs that are too deep for divers to venture. “They go places man cannot,” explained Matt Debelak, of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Another display showed kids about erosion in watersheds. Powdered hot chocolate…


Huffine offers software consulting with a personal touch

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Susan Huffine brings a personal touch to computer software issues. Huffine has launched HSC Services – Huffine Software Consulting Services – as a full-time business in August. She started the business in March as a part-time endeavor. Now the 1982 graduate of Bowling Green High School is offering knowledge acquired over several decades to area businesses. The software consultant offers a range of services, all customized to the customer’s particular requirements. That includes finding just what software a company needs and how to adapt it to its operations “so the software can work for their company rather than them working for the software.” Huffine also consults on how best to manage systems and analyze a business’s processes. She can set up a basic website and creating advanced databases and spreadsheets for companies. That wide range of services is all delivered with a personal touch. “I need to listen to them,” she said. “I need to ask them questions before I can get to the nitty gritty of what they really need. I cannot create database without them, constantly meeting with them asking questions.” Huffine comes from family of business people. Her father, Bob Huffine, ran a car repair shop in Custar, and her mother, Kay, did the books and continues to work part time at the Farmers and Merchants Bank in the village. “My mother taught me my love for numbers.” She’s proud to have the Huffine name on another business and feels her father, who died in January, is “watching me.” That family background in small business also gives her insight in what…