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We're a little crazy, about science!

Day #64: Lab Tours!

 

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Just hanging out with some exoskeleton friends.

When doing your advanced degrees (Masters or PhD) you end up with a lot of different responsibilities that have nothing to do with your education. That isn’t to say that it isn’t an important thing or that I hate doing it, you just don’t learn anything with regard to your study subject. Today is one of those days, let’s talk about it.

Today we are giving tours of our labs to a few groups of 4th graders. I enjoy outreach and I love doing things like this so don’t take my opening statement as putting down science outreach, I am certainly not. I just want to highlight that as you start climbing the higher education ladder, you end up with responsibilities that have nothing to do with your degree directly.

Since I’ve finished undergrad, I’ve been in charge of my old labs website, ordering and managing equipment, managing the lab safety guide, giving lab tours, and maintaining equipment. The most rewarding is probably the outreach aspect. Sometimes it is for business, we have given tours to NASA, USSOCOM, and several area companies and hospitals. That is just some of the notable tours in the last year.

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NASA tour, we had actual astronauts come from not only NASA, but ESA and the Russian space program (Bottom left in the light blue jumper, he went to space while Russia was still the USSR!)

My personal favorites are giving tours to children. Sometimes they are high school students getting ready for the next stage of life. Sometimes we are giving tours to children to inspire them to look towards the future. Today we are doing the later, and I am very excited about it.

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Kids have a different way of looking at the world, sometimes they even come up with interesting solutions to problems you may not have even thought of. One of my favorite examples of this would be a young girl who independently invented the concept of biohybrid robotics. When I was demonstrating my robot, before I left my old lab, as the class was leaving she shyly asked me if you could incorporate animal muscle to the robot to make it move. I really hope that idea sticks with her and I explained that she should run with it.

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We even tour different labs, this is a new robotics facility automating some of the more mundane tasks that we have to do as researchers and health care professionals.

For all the horrible things going wrong with the world, from global warming, to racism, it’s nice to see that people can still dream of a better world. So today is lab tour day, yesterday of course was my Skype a scientist outreach, which was different and they weren’t originally planned to be back to back like this, but that is how they ended up. In the end though I’m happy to share my science and my story with younger generations and maybe they will be inspired to do something amazing.

Until next time, don’t stop learning!

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