Release Date: July 24, 2018
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Dozens of middle and high school students will build smartphones this week at the University at Buffalo, part of a broader effort to reduce dropout rates in Western New York and throughout the state.
The students, from Buffalo Public Schools, will each receive a handheld Raspberry Pi computer circuit board. From there, they’ll work with UB engineers to modify these devices — everything from software programming to enclosing it in a case — and create handheld computers that perform tasks similar to a simple smartphone.
The STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) outreach is a joint effort between UB and Liberty Partnerships Program, a New York State Department of Education-funded dropout prevention program. Liberty Partnerships offers targeted social-emotional learning, college readiness skills, soft skills and workforce development for middle and high school students.
News media are invited to UB’s North Campus to see the students in action.
Who: Buffalo Public Schools students from Marva J. Daniel Futures Preparatory School, East Community High School and the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts.
When and where: UB is hosting three sessions this week. All will be held on UB’s North Campus. The time, dates and locations are as follows:
Tuesday — From 1:20 to 3:20 p.m. in 114 Bonner Hall.
Tuesday — From 6:30 to 8 p.m. in 340 Bell Hall.
Wednesday — From 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in 21 Baldy Hall.
Why: “Studies show that hands-on activities, like building a simple smartphone, can ignite interest in STEM fields because students get to see how all the types of science and engineering are applied to the real world,” says event organizer Oliver Kennedy, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
He continued: “We want to give these students a taste of what college can be like, all the fun and exciting things you can learn and do while pursuing a college degree.”
Participants and sponsors: In addition to Kennedy, other UB faculty members participating in the program include Jaroslaw Zola, Jennifer Winikus, Nils Napp, all from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering; and Chi Zhou and Hongyue Sun, from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.
UB graduate student participants include Shubhendu Kumar Singh, Chandan Kumar Sahu and Sohith Kalluru, all from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Staff participants include Donald Goralski and Maggie Liu from UB’s Shared Instrumentation Laboratories.
The program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.