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  • LEGO 3D Chocolate Printer

    Posted October 27th, 2014 by Emily Nicholson

    Some high school students spend their summers hanging with friends or enjoying the summer sun. One particular high school student in Corvallis spent it designing a 3D printer that creates structures made of chocolate.


    Albert Cai, a student at Crescent Valley High School, spent the summer participating in an internship program with Dr. Skip Rochefort at Oregon State University. During the duration of the internship, Cai and Dr. Rochefort created a machine almost entirely out of LEGO pieces that, given commands through a computer, will robotically create structures out of chocolate. Its purpose is not to create edible works of art, but for outreach efforts as well as teaching MATLAB (a computer programming software) to OSU students.


    Cai was inspired to create this 3-D Chocolate printer out of LEGOs by a story about Matthew Krueger who had made a 3D printer out of LEGOs that printed hot glue. The design is based on Krueger’s design, but was edited for stability and to fit the pieces available to the team. In total, the machine has four motors, 6 touch sensors, 2 NXT bricks, and many LEGO pieces. The only non-LEGO piece is the chocolate extruder.


    How does it work? The chocolate is melted by putting chocolate chips into an aluminum can which is then boiled in hot water. After it is melted, it is placed into the hopper on the extruder. The team programs the printer to create a specific design, and from there, the machine does the rest. The team just sits back and watches it create the desired shape.


    Thinking as a true engineer, Cai thought of various ways that his design can be improved including adding temperature controls to create a constant process, heating the chocolate extruder to prevent clogging, cooling the base plate, and making a steadier base.


    To see Albert and Dr. Rochefort’s chocolate printer in action, check out the video found here!


    For more information on what 3D printing is, check out this article found here.

    High School Students Genotype Wheat Varieties in OSU Summer Camp

    Posted September 16th, 2014 by Emily Nicholson

    In a collaborative effort between the Gramene project, Plant Ontology Project, and our very own STEM Academy at OSU, twelve 9th-12th grade students participated in a DNA Biology Camp. During the camp they heard lectures, used hands-on models, and conducted laboratory experiments. By using DNA model kits, students were able to create a DNA sequence, its complementary RNA strand. Students also isolated genomic DNA from wheat and analyzed them using agarose-gel electrophoresis.

    For more information about what the students did during the camp, see the article on the Gramene website. For more information on what STEM Academy has to offer, visit their website.

    East Meets West

    Posted July 24th, 2014 by Emily Nicholson

    Some 7th and 8th graders in our TAG Programs’ Outside the Box learned about the Chinese culture in the program “East Meets West.” More on what the students did can be seen, including a few YouTube videos, on the

    Inside Outside the Box

    Posted July 24th, 2014 by Emily Nicholson

    One class of 7th and 8th graders in our Outside the Box program created a blog of their own called “Inside Outside the Box”. The students wrote stories, posted pictures, and hosted interviews capturing a glimpse into the other Outside the Box classes.

    Take a look!

    SESEY 2014

    Posted July 24th, 2014 by Emily Nicholson

    The Precollege Programs’ Summer Experience in Science and Engineering for Youth (SESEY) is a program primarily for high school girls and ethnic minorities traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering. Students are paired with a faculty mentor in engineering to conduct a mini-research project.

    2014, its 17th year at Oregon State University, SESEY had around 60 participants as well as college-aged counselors and mentors. Skip Rochefort, an associate professor in chemical engineering and executive director of Precollege Programs said that the goal of the camp is more t inspire studetns to pursue STEM careers, especially engienering, than it is to recruit students to OSU.

    Check out the article featured in the Corvallis Gazette Times (complete with a few photos) here.

    Phronesis Lab Philosophy Seminar

    Posted July 24th, 2014 by Emily Nicholson


    In collaboration with College Hill High School, Phronesis Lab: Experiments in Engaged Ethics offers annually a ten-week philosophy seminar on peace and social justice designed for and by at-risk youth. The instructional team is comprised of graduate students in the MA in Applied Ethics program, senior undergraduate philosophy students, and community volunteers. High-school students take the seminar for social science credit towards their diploma requirements. The seminar is part of Phronesis Lab research in support of the hypothesis that philosophy curriculum focused on engaged, community-level, social-justice content increases student-citizen identity, participation, motivation, and self-efficacy. Here’s a ppt sharing details of the initial seminar offering in the spring of 2013; The Gazette Times did a front page feature on the 2014 offering – check out the story in the GT. Phronesis Lab is directed by Drs. Sharyn Clough and Stephanie Jenkins. Visit them at

    2014 Engineering Club Carnival at OSU

    Posted May 16th, 2014 by Emily Nicholson

    The College of Engineering will host its third annual Engineering Club Carnival on May 29th, 2014 from 1-5PM. The event will be held on OSU’s campus at the Kelley Engineering Center. All proceeds go directly to the Linn Benton food bank.

    There will be approximately 18 different carnival booths/games hosted by various engineering clubs. Participants can play games with tickets purchased at a booth at the carnival. Tickets can be purchased for a dollar or a canned food item. These tickets will also enter the buyer into a drawing for some prizes.

    Children are encouraged to attend. Their $1 or canned food donation will get them 5 tickets to participate throughout the carnival, but will not enter them into the larger prize drawings.

    Some of the games scheduled so far include:

    • Dunk Tank
    • Guess the Material
    • Corn Hole
    • Dart Toss
    • Lumber Jenga
    • Water Pong
    • Fox Hunt
    • Geiger Search and Neutron/Isotope Ball Toss
    • Baja Car Display
    • Android Toss
    • Solar Car Photo Booth
    • BioDiesel Cart Showcase

    Take an afternoon, engage in engineering activities, and support the Linn Benton Food Share!

    More information can be found at the Carnival’s website.



    Students learn about Microtechnology from the Professionals at MBI

    Posted August 29th, 2013 by Emily Nicholson

    Oregon State University’s STEM Academy teamed up with the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute at the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) to provide an opportunity for 20 fifth- to eighth-graders to explore Microtechnology! Students worked with each other and industry professionals as they utilized their brains, built heat exchange conductors, and increased their excitement about science.

    In all, STEM Academy held 33 camps over the summer serving 333 kids!

    Check out the article (complete with pictures) here!

    Sea Grant Hosts Underwater Robot Competition

    Posted April 9th, 2013 by kyle

    The newly formed Oregon Regional MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education) ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) Program is designed to provide hands-on instruction and support for educators seeking to integrate STEM while engaging their students in authentic, inquiry-based, experiential learning.  Last year, Oregon Sea Grant’s Marine Education Program worked with University of Washington staff to establish the Oregon Regional MATE ROV Program which is expected to grow this year.  In the program, students work in small groups to design and build underwater robots to accomplish missions based on real-world activities, while learning about the engineering design process, ocean exploration, and forces such as buoyancy, drag and thrust.  Students then compete regionally and   nationally against other teams while interacting with marine technology professionals and college students who act as mentors throughout the process.  The program is designed to reach, engage, and support the participation of middle school students, at a critical point in the educational pathway where students, particularly ethnic minorities, are most likely to lose interest in math and science.

    On May 4th, 2013, the regional MATE ROV competition was held at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.  24 middle school teams from Lincoln county competed in the event which focused on ocean observing systems.

    Check out this additional article:


    SMILE Math and Science Nights in Corvallis

    Posted November 21st, 2012 by staff

    From LIFE@OSU

    Under the watchful eye of Oregon State University student Vanessa Robinson, a Lincoln School student carefully combined tape, a plastic spoon and some small sticks to make his unique version of a catapult. Robinson’s eyes widened as she saw his technique.

    “That is a creative solution I’ve never seen before,” she said. “Let’s show your dad.”

    Around the pair, dozens of other elementary students and parents were crowded around, working on their own experiments. The gymnasium of Lincoln School was abuzz with laughter, shouting and intense discussions during their once-a-term Family Math and Science Night. A similar event is held at Garfield Elementary. The goal is to have children, families and teachers work together as partners to engage in learning science.

    The event is facilitated by a group of enthusiastic soon-to-be teachers who are enrolled in Assistant Professor SueAnn Bottoms’ class on scientific methods. These pre-service teachers don’t get a lot of time to spend actually working with students, which is why Bottoms makes sure that in her class, working with elementary students at Garfield and Lincoln Schools is one of the requirements in her class.

    The family night events are coordinated between the College of Education faculty, and the OSU-affiliated programs 4-H and SMILE (Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences). 4-H holds once-a-week afterschool science and math programs at Garfield and Lincoln, and during fall and spring term, Bottoms’ students usually spend about four or five sessions working one-on-one or in small groups with participating children. This allows them to practice their teaching skills, specifically in the area of science education.

    Read the whole story on LIFE@OSU.