2019-11-03: STEAM on Spectrum at VMASC

The second annual STEAM on Spectrum event was held at the Old Dominion University (ODU) Virginia Modeling Analysis & Simulation Center (VMASC) in Suffolk, VA on October 12, 2019. 

The event, sponsored by IEEE Hampton Roads Section and the VMASC Industry Association, intended to provide inclusive, accessible resources and activities related to science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM), and encourage students to pursue careers in the STEAM areas.  Event organizers included VMASC, ODU, and the Mea'Alofa Autism Support Center.
In support of the event, Dr. Sampath Jayarantha (@OpenMaze), and multiple WS-DL PhD students volunteered to organize an eye tracking exhibit.  

The exhibit featured various eye tracking devices, and eye target games.  Once participants understood how the eye trackers worked and realized that there was no need to keep moving their heads, children and their parents took on the challenge of hitting various targets with just their eyes.  Some families even started competitions among themselves, with children and parents trying earn the day's highest score.

There were several other interactive and hands-on experiences including interactive games, flight and driving simulators, robots, and an activity that converted colors to music.
Event organizers not only ensured that there were fun activities for the children, but also provided them with a goodie bags that included STEAM related toys.  Volunteers and participants of the event were also treated to lunch.
The event was well organized and attended, and I expect it to be even better next year.  I am glad to have had an opportunity to support the event with others from @WebSciDL and hope to see more volunteers and attendees next year.

--Bathsheba Farrow (@sheissheba)