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  • Lemelson Grant Awarded for Mobile Invention Camps

    Posted October 13th, 2016 by Emily Nicholson


    CORVALLIS, Ore. – This summer youth in rural Oregon will put their creativity to work solving real life problems, thanks to a new partnership between Oregon State University and the Lemelson Foundation.

    A Lemelson Foundation grant will allow the university to develop and launch Mobile Invention Camps for middle school and high school students. Participants will study problems relevant to the economy of their own community and use engineering principles to come up with solutions.

    Hands-on activities will enable students to construct and test a prototype invention, with the goal of developing a product that could be commercialized.

    Ultimately, the camps aim to motivate rural Oregon students to pursue higher education to gain the skills necessary to be effective inventors, entrepreneurs and agents of global change.

    Mobile Invention Camps will be modeled on the successful Mobile Science and Engineering Camps that OSU has offered since 2009. Originally funded by the Engineering and Technology Industry Council, the camps use hands-on activities centered on sustainable energy to increase student confidence and interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  Since inception the camps have served more than 1,000 rural, low-income and minority Oregon students.

    The new program aims to create modular invention-based activities that can be adapted to middle and high school levels, thus broadening the camps’ impact. Curriculum will be co-developed with faculty and students from OSU’s humanitarian engineering program. This emerging field emphasizes science and engineering-based solutions that help to improve the human condition, increase access to basic human needs, enhance quality of life and strengthen community resilience.

    “Mobile Invention Camps will be a great opportunity to engage rural students in a real-world, problem-solving experience that incorporates community assessment, environmental sustainability, creative invention design and prototyping and development of an entrepreneurial commercialization plan,” said Kyle Cole, OSU Director of Pre-College Programs. “It will also help inspire rural Oregon students to pursue higher education, especially in fields related to invention and entrepreneurship, and help them understand how to prepare and pay for college.”

    Starting this July, six to eight week-long Mobile Invention Camps will take place in rural Oregon communities, engaging up to 30 students in each location.

    Established by prolific U.S. inventor Jerome Lemelson and his wife, Dorothy, in 1992, and led by the Lemelson family, the Lemelson Foundation uses the power of invention to improve lives. It seeks to inspire and enable the next generation of inventors and invention-based enterprises to promote economic growth in the U.S., and social and economic progress for the poor in developing countries.


    We’re Hiring!

    Posted September 22nd, 2016 by Emily Nicholson

    The SMILE program is looking to fill a full time (1.0 FTE), 12-month Coordinator position. This position will be in charge of program planning, supporting partners, evaluating programs, developing instructional materials and more! For more information including specific duties and qualifications, please visit the job posting:

    For 29 years, Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) program has been working to serve Oregon’s underrepresented students. SMILE clubs are rural after-school programs that:

    • Help minority students, students who are from low income households, and those who would be the first in their families to go to college gain STEM skills
    • Engage 4-12 grade students statewide in science, math, and engineering year round
    • Provide professional development to a community of teachers.

    For more information about what the SMILE program is and what impacts it has on Oregon’s youth, visit the program website:

    Science Rocks!

    Posted March 2nd, 2016 by Emily Nicholson

    North Albany Elem School Thank you

    Science does rock! At the end of January we hosted a Family Science and Engineering night at North Albany Elementary School. This event was for the whole family to enjoy. We had hands-on STEM activities for families to tackle together. Family Science and Engineering nights are hosted at elementary schools in and all around Corvallis. Through a dynamic partnership of the College of Science, College of Engineering, and Precollege Programs of Oregon State University we are able to provide fun activities that focus on building STEM skills and ideas.

    We received this Thank You from North Albany Elementary School. We are delighted they had such a wonderful time because we did too! We hope all the young minds continue learning and exploring the world of STEM!!

    Want to participate? Email Emily at to find out more about the program. We are full for this year but do have a waitlist or keep it in mind for next year!





    Juntos – A Family Day at OSU

    Posted July 28th, 2015 by Emily Nicholson

    Early in May, the Office of Precollege Programs partnered with OSU Center for Latin@ Studies and Engagement, OSU Open Campus’ Juntos program, the Adelante en Acción student organization, and other sponsoring organizations to host over 350 members of Latino families on campus for a day of college and career readiness … and a little fun!

    While on campus, families from the Juntos sites around Oregon were led on a culturally relevant campus tour by members of Adelante en Accion, asked questions of a student panel, and heard about the logistics of apply for and attending college from current Latino graduate students and faculty members. For those families who had visited OSU before, science and engineering activities were offered including cheesemaking, K’NEX Solar Cars, Windmills, and Environmental Health.

    After an informative morning, everyone gathered back together to share lunch, get to know other Juntos community members from different locations around the state, and participate in a little healthy competition  in the form of a pinata contest and soccer tournament.

    All-in-all it was an impactful experience for these families, and we look forward to hosting another Juntos Family Day in the future!


    Science Night in Dallas

    Posted February 4th, 2015 by Emily Nicholson

    Throughout the year, the Family Science and Engineering Night (FSEN) team including chemistry instructor Margie Haak and engineering professor Skip Rochefort, at Oregon State University visit elementary schools around Corvallis bringing with them fun hands-on activities that are designed to get students and their families interested in science.

    On Thursday, January 22, the FSEN team found themselves at Oakdale Elementary in Dallas, OR. Read more about it and see some pictures of the science activities in the article published in the Polk County Itemizer-Observer here.

    If you are interested in hosting a Family Science and Engineering Night at your school, please contact the Office of Precollege Programs at or 541-737-9424 to discuss details.

    Looking for New High School Academic quiz-bowl Coaches

    Posted December 4th, 2014 by Emily Nicholson

    Calling all High School Teachers!

    Who: You and your enthusiastic High School Students
    What: An academic quiz-bowl called The Salmon Bowl
    Where: Oregon State University, Corvallis
    When: Saturday, February 28th, 2015
    Why: It’s a blast, the student’s love it, and it expands learning beyond the classroom!

    The Salmon Bowl is Oregon’s Regional Science Bowl, one of 25 bowls within the National Science Bowl system designed to promote ocean and marine literacy. We would love you to coach a team of students!

    We encourage you to start a team, as the Salmon Bowl provides an excellent opportunity for students to apply knowledge, win prizes, and gain out of the classroom experiences in a university setting (think college applications!). Plus, you as a Coach can gain recognition within your school and school district as an academic and scholastic leader.

    Most importantly, winners of the Salmon Bowl will be provided an opportunity to travel to Nationals to challenge the winning teams of other regional bowls!

    We hope you consider joining us for this year for Salmon Bowl 2015! For more information on coaching a team, please visit the National Ocean Sciences Bowl website. We also have a great network of veteran coaches that would be happy to help answer questions and get you started!

    Please do not hesitate to contact Lindsay Carrol, Salmon Bowl 2015 Coordinator with any questions ( Also, if you would be interested in watching this year’s event with the goal of coaching next year, they would be happy to have you as their honored guests in February! Please contact Lindsey for more information.

    Volunteer with ASPIRE

    Posted November 14th, 2014 by Emily Nicholson

    “Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” – Rita Pierson

    The ASPIRE program is looking for volunteers in the Milwuakie, OR area. Consider becoming an ASPIRE volunteer at Rex Putnam High School and make an impact on a student’s life. Meet with students one-on-one, help navigate through their college-readiness checklist, and encourage them towards a bright and possible future.

    For more information about the ASPIRE mentoring program, please visit:

    If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Lindsay Charlesworth:

    503-353-5870 Ext. 38536

    Rex Putnam High School
    4950 SW Roethe Road
    Milwaukie, OR 97267


    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