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Penn College to Exhibit at USA Science & Engineering Festival

Pennsylvania College of Technology is scheduled to exhibit at the largest science festival in the United States. College students, faculty and staff will offer hands-on, interactive activities at the third USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo, April 25-27 in Washington, D.C.

The festival, taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, is a free expo designed to inspire the next generation of innovators. Approximately 250,000 participants are expected for the event, which will feature more than 3,000 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-related activities and 100 live stage shows.

“Penn College’s first-time participation at this event allows us the opportunity to showcase some of our high-demand majors,” said Dennis L. Correll, associate dean for admissions and financial aid. “We are broadening our outreach to science-and technology-focused students, as business and industry needs for STEM-related graduates continue to grow.”

The 20-by-50-foot Penn College exhibit will highlight three academic departments: welding, electronics and computer engineering technology, and automotive. Students from those majors will facilitate activities for guests and distribute college information and educational resources.

USA Science & Engineering Festival
USA Science & Engineering Festival

“Our student representatives will have the opportunity to interact with literally thousands of folks visiting the festival,” said Paul L. Starkey, vice president for academic affairs and provost. “They will be able to transmit their enthusiasm about their majors to others and tell them what makes Penn College such a special place. We can have no better ambassadors for the college than our own students.”

Activities at the Penn College exhibit will include a welding simulator, a remote-controlled car challenge infused with first-person-viewing technology, and the Wildcat Electric Dragster, an electric Camaro built by automotive technology management students at the college.

The welding simulator allows participants to do a “virtual” weld and test their skills without the live sparks.

Competitors in the remote-controlled car challenge will navigate their car through an obstacle course. The cars will be mounted with a small camera that will distribute a video feed to tablets that will be used to control the cars.

With the Wildcat Electric Dragster, participants will learn about series and parallel circuits and “wire” batteries to operate the concept car’s control system. Penn College students, excited about the opportunity to compete in the nation’s largest science festival, created a YouTube video to explain their preparation of the electric racecar.

“Our toughest task was limiting the Penn College exhibit to only three activities representing the various academic departments,” Starkey said. “Every department had ideas that would have been just as exciting for guests at the festival. That is one thing we will try to get across to guests: Come to campus and see all the rest!”

The Penn College exhibit will open on April 25 at 9 a.m. for “Sneak Peek Friday,” the day reserved for educators and students to enjoy the festival before it opens to the general public. On April 26-27, the festival will be open to all from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Penn College exhibit will be located in Hall C, Booth 4309.

The festival features science celebrities, explorers, astronauts, authors and experts in fields such as robotics, medicine, advanced manufacturing and 3-D printing. Notable participants include Bill Nye the Science Guy, media personality and skilled-trades backer Mike Rowe, actress and math advocate Danica McKellar, author and illustrator David Macaulay, and basketball legend and STEM-education booster Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

“While telling the Penn College story, our students will also have the chance to visit the festival themselves,” Starkey said. “This is the largest STEM-related festival around, with some amazing exhibits. Our students, always eager to learn, will soak it all in.”

For more about Penn College, which is celebrating its Centennial throughout 2014, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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