A college student talks to high school students about engineeringTen Engineering Ambassadors from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) spent Tuesday, March 21 with Science and Technology students at Berlin Middle/High School (BMSHS). The RPI Engineering Ambassadors travel to local high schools to help students learn more about what it is like to study various engineering disciplines and to engage students with hands-on learning activities involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).


Thirty classes at BMSHS were able to participate in hands-on activities that included:

Structures: This presentation explored architecture through an engineering perspective including a history of structures, fundamental engineering concepts and a structural analysis of modern buildings.

Design of An Athlete: Students learned about the physics and engineering behind the sports that we love and hear about every day, such as why the bodies and skill sets of athletes benefit them in their respective sports but may not be optimal in other sports. They also learned about the engineering that goes into designing protective equipment as well as creating and using biometric technology. Hands-on activities included using force plates to measure jump force, photogates to measure speed, EMGs to measure muscle activity as well as the opportunity for students to use the equipment.

Students do a water filtration activity

In teams, students created and tested their own gravity filters for water.

Engineering Life – Water Filtration: Students learned about Earth’s natural filtering process, the water cycle and how a similar process has been engineered to filter our water. 

Thermoelectric Devices: In this presentation, students learned about how heat is converted into electricity. This presentation covered the basics of efficiency, energy usage, energy conversion and power, and walked students through the materials science behind thermoelectric devices. Students then experimented with their own thermoelectric devices and produced electricity to power propellers.

Evolution of Prosthetics: This presentation covered the evolution of prosthetics, or artificial devices used to replace missing body parts, and the engineering design process that drives the innovation. Topics included biomechanics, action potentials and the connection of the nervous system, as well as future bionic and thought-controlled prostheses. This presentation was a favorite among BMSHS students, who could not wait to show off the items they made to their teachers and principal, Dr. Allain.

The RPI Engineering Ambassadors’ fields of study include Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Industrial and Management Engineering and Design, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science and Environmental Engineering.

The RPI Engineering Ambassadors are devoted to inspiring younger students with what they are doing in their chosen major, the newest technological breakthroughs in their fields and the obstacles yet to be overcome in the future of STEM. We are already looking forward to their next visit!