Student: Mason Henry, graduate student in Aerospace Engineering, Iowa State University
Faculty Advisor: Professor Matthew Nelson
STEM Engagement of K-12 Undergraduate Development Through Project Based Learning
My research project involves assisting Professor Matthew Nelson with engineering education through STEM engagement of K-12 students and teaching undergraduate students professional development skills such as time management, communication, decision-making, and adaptability. Working with the Make to Innovate high altitude balloon team, HABET, we are researching and carrying out new and innovative ways to get younger students involved with and excited about STEM through unique engineering experiences. This is done in hopes of engaging them to learn more about the fields included in STEM and to inspire the next generation of aeronautical innovators who will continue to transform the aviation industry, making it more sustainable and accessible. One of the ways this was achieved was by having kids under the age of thirteen participate in assisting with the launching of two balloons this past summer at the Iowa State Fair. As for the HABET team, they continue to develop their professional skillset by working with various clients ranging from physicists from the University of Iowa to the Food Sciences department here at Iowa State. I have aided in this development by coaching communication with clients and mentoring students in the decision-making process and adaptability between each client’s specific needs. Through high-altitude ballooning, this research falls unconventionally under the Aeronautic Research Directive due to its use of specific use of aeronautics in assisting with education research.