ISU MA prides itself on the outreach activities it provides and continually strives to teach open minds about the exciting world of materials science and engineering. Our chapter has an extensive set of demonstrations that quickly and effectively introduce new audiences to materials. An overwhelming number of Iowa State Materials Engineering students cite materials demonstrations as a major influence in deciding to pursue materials engineering. With that, we understand the influence and importance of our demonstrations. The ISU MA kit includes demonstrations about the differences and similarities between the four areas of materials (metals, ceramics, polymers, and electronics). The kit also highlights how different processing, structures, and chemical compositions combine to provide endless different materials.
The outreach done by ISU MA can be split into three categories: recruitment, classroom, and special events. Our group is frequently asked by the university or the engineering college to perform our demonstrations on campus for prospective students. ISU MA also travels to Des Moines Area Community College and other area schools for similar recruitment. In most recruitment events demos are performed amidst personal conversations sharing information about Iowa State, the College of Engineering, and Materials Science. In the second category, ISU MA members travel to numerous schools across the state and the region giving presentations and helping with activities for students from early elementary through high school. The aim is for the set of demonstrations to be both informative and fun for the level of the audience, whether explaining the concept of atoms for the first time or giving a more comprehensive view of the solid phase to upper-level chemistry students. There are thirdly numerous special events our chapter helps with. ISU MA does demonstrations for Boy and Girl Scouts, VEISHEA (an annual Iowa State University celebration), after school programs, summer camps, and many more. In the past, we also had the privilege of helping with the enormous success of the NOVA’s “Making Stuff”. ISU MA helped put on events for all ages of students and adults in conjunction with the four part series that aired on PBS.