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Rick Moyer leads outreach team in encouraging middle school girls to pursue STEM careers  

March 7, 2015

eyh 2015

Rick Moyer, a research scientist in the Center for Energy Research, completed his 11th consecutive year of conducting workshops for the San Diego Expanding Your Horizons workshop, held in the Shiley Center for Science and Technology at the University of San Diego. The goal of these EYH events is to encourage middle and junior high school girls to consider STEM careers early enough to choose the appropriate mathematics and science classes in high school.

Rick and his staff of nine scientists and engineers from the Center for Energy Research and the DIII-D National Fusion Facility presented three  "Electrifying Your World" sessions to 65 7th and 8th grade girls and 6 college student mentors. The girls and mentors learned about electricity, electric circuits, and the Lorentz force of a magnetic field on an electric current, and used these concepts to build a simple working d.c. electric motor from everyday items (AA battery, permanent magnet, screw, wire) which they took home with them when the event was over.

"The girls really love building the motor," exclaimed Saikat Chakraborty Thakur, a CER researcher. "They use motors in everyday life and here they get to build one themselves using very simple tools." Dr. Thakur also elaborated on some of the reasons he has participated in this event for many years; "In spite of the USA being one of the most technologically advanced countries, the representation of women in the STEM subjects is still poor. Efforts like EYH are one way to encourage them at an early age and tell them to take the correct courses in high school to be able to enter college in a STEM field...Moreover we take this opportunity to break some standard stereotypes and show by example that anyone from any background can be a part of STEM, as long as they are interested and sincere in their efforts. We had presenters from Wisconsin, Montana, Russia, Italy, India etc., just to name a few. In most cases, we were the first in the family to pursue a career in STEM."  

Rick's EYH 2015 team included:  Dmitri Orlov, Saikat Chakraborty Thakur, and Ray Seraydarian of the Center for Energy Research at UCSD; Cami Collins and Luz Meneghini of UC, Irvine; Auna Moser and Orso Meneghini of General Atomics; Joan Inlow of Safran Microturbo, and Alexis Briesemeister of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.