2nd Place | Engineering Museum for North Aurora Youth in Minority Ethnic Groups by Michelle Wang

Grade: 11th

In my project, I plan to transform an empty lot into a children?s museum called Center of Engineering Exploration, or CEE. The museum is located in North Aurora, where limited resources are given to the education system. Thus, local schools cannot provide teachers with sufficient salaries, making it unlikely for experienced teachers to seek employment in such schools. Schools in North Aurora are also unable to provide students with the necessary tools and equipment for courses, like science which requires lab equipment. North Aurora consists of dense Latinx and African American populations, which are both underrepresented in engineering. CEE's primary goal is to encourage North Aurora students of ethnic groups underrepresented in the STEM fields to pursue engineering. Through the puzzles and demonstrations within its exhibits, the center presents engineering as a fun, creative area of study. Additionally, the center provides quality education, resources, and opportunities to North Aurora students with disadvantages. Visiting students learn analytical and logic skills as they complete puzzles, projects, and programs. Professional engineers are hired as mentors who aid students in projects and research. Every day, these mentors hold sessions, which are each centered around specific engineering concepts, practices, and skills. For example, in the museum?s Creation Station, a mentor may hold a session in which they teach participants to build a mini solar car. Low income families residing in North Aurora will be granted access to the center's resources free of charge. In my submission, I used a sketch to depict the exterior and interior of the museum. By presenting the building's exterior visually, rather than through speech or text, I was able to encapsulate its structure aesthetic. In mapping out the building's interior visually, I portrayed the museum's dimensions and organization. I chose to demonstrate the building through images rather than other forms of visualization since sketching allows me to work efficiently and neatly. I also described the building's functions and programs through an audio file. This medium allowed me to slowly unravel these informative pieces bit by bit, giving the listener ample time to digest the information. I was also able to incorporate my pleasant tone into these submissions, making the ideas described in these pieces seem more appealing.