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EPIC Brings Engineering Into the Classroom

Posted by TNCS on Oct 2, 2019

Research has shown that for many dyslexic people, an inherent advantage of their mind is a talent for engineering. Brooke Danielsson was a graduate student when she began to notice a lack of dyslexic students in her engineering program. Dyslexic herself, she set out to change that by starting a new non-profit called EPIC (Engineering Practices in Color). EPIC uses STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum that uses sensory-based techniques to teach engineering principles to students with different learning styles.     

This summer, Ms. Danielsson reached out to The New Community School to offer to bring the EPIC program to our students. Now a PhD student studying biomedical engineering at VCU School of Engineering, she and other volunteers from EPIC will be visiting The New Community School monthly to teach workshops to students. Each month will focus on a different type of engineering including mechanical, biomedical, chemical, civil, and environmental. 

The first workshop was an enormous success, investigating Biomedical Engineering. EPIC volunteers worked with our students to understand, envision, and create robot hands. “Students were fully engaged in what was literally a ‘hands-on’ experience,” said Mr. Jim Morgan, Health and Wellness Teacher. “Using basic supplies of cardboard, string, and straws, they become biomedical engineers tasked with building a functioning hand with fingers that could grasp objects. Creative and critical thinking were combined with logic and reasoning to better understand how science and engineering can work together to improve the quality of life of others.” 

“Each student’s personality really showed through their creations and how they individualized their prototypes,” said Ms. Danielsson. “We enjoyed watching them test their robot hand’s functionality by trying to pick objects up with it. My team and I had a lot of fun with the kids and are excited to come back in October! 

For more information about how Brooke Danielsson used her dyslexic advantage to inspire others to pursue careers in Engineering, please click here.