Robots, Space Travel, Movie Special Effects Promise a Bright Future for Detroit Area Students

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

Thousands of Detroit area middle- and high-school students will travel to the future—their future—at the fourth annual Youth Engineering & Science (YES!) Expo at Ford Field on November 8. More than 20,000 middle and high-school students have registered already for the free event, hosted by Michigan Technological University.
More than 60 corporations, including major sponsors such as The Dow Chemical Company, are sending some of their most dynamic engineers and scientists to introduce the young people to the future that could be theirs. And students and faculty from more than two dozen colleges and universities, including Michigan Tech, Wayne State, the University of Michigan and Michigan State, will show the next generation how they can prepare for that bright tomorrow.
“If Michigan is to prosper, our young people must become the innovators, the inventors of the future,” said Glenn D. Mroz, president of Michigan Tech. “The YES! Expo is an effective way to show them how exciting the world of engineering, science and technology can be.”
Cool, hands-on activities at the sponsors’ booths, such as making liquid nitrogen ice cream at the Michigan Tech Summer Youth Program booth, are designed to motivate students to consider science and engineering careers. The students will get to interact with people who do engineering and science for a living, people just like them whose enthusiasm for their careers is contagious. Exhibitors from universities and community colleges will showcase the educational pathways to these careers and demonstrate some of the exciting experiences awaiting college students in these fields.
For example, Michigan Tech is sending more than 50 students, including many from student chapters of the Society of Women Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers and Engineers Without Borders. They will demonstrate exciting student projects ranging from aerospace engineering to advanced motor sports, alternative fuels development and cleaning up the environment. Students from Michigan Tech’s Enterprise programs will show how they gain engineering and business experience while solving real-world problems for their corporate and industrial sponsors.
Keynote speaker at this year’s YES! Expo is Steven Squyres, chief scientist for NASA’s Mars Rover Mission.
A live, professionally produced show will feature a special video appearance by Rob Coleman and John Knoll, who were responsible for the visual effects and animations in the Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean trilogies.

A highlight of the show will be a performance by Toyota’s Partner Robot, which walks and plays the trumpet using artificial lips that replicate the vibration of human lips and robotic fingers with human dexterity. The show will be presented twice, at 9:30 am and 12:00 noon.
Just before the first show, Toyota Motor Company will announce a major donation to the New Detroit Science Center for a new Engineering Theater.
Michigan Tech’s K-12 Outreach Program is organizing learning centers where teachers can watch students learning about science, technology, engineering and math-related topics. The teachers will also receive classroom activities packages to help them re-create the learning experiences in their own classrooms.
Major sponsors for the 2007 YES! Expo include Alcoa Foundation, AT&T, The Carls Foundation, Caterpillar Inc./Michigan CAT, Chrysler LLC, The Dow Chemical Company, Dow Corning, Ford Motor Company, Faurecia North America, FANUC Robotics America, Inc., General Motors Corporation, Marathon Petroleum LLC, the Michigan Department of Education, the Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan Design & Construction Coalition, Pulte Homes Inc., and Toyota Technical Center USA, Inc.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.