Mike Conroy, FSI, joined the Michaelis Foundation for Global Education to bring STEM/STEAM inspiration to Brazilian students and families. Events included the soft opening at the Sorocaba Engineering School, (FACENS), in Sorocaba, a visit to a local High School and a 2-day event in Rio de Janeiro. Eleven Science Days remain on the schedule throughout Brazil.
The FACENS trip enabled talks with university leadership (Dean, International Relations, Research), faculty (predominantly Engineering) and students while the “soft” opening included over 1,000 students from area middle and high schools. FACENS expressed desires to: partner with UCF, exchange students, exchange projects, team on projects and host guest lectures. An evening lecture on complex design drew over 200 attendees. Interest exists in FSI’s Senior Design approach with a desire to have FACENS student teams work on FSI projects as well as to replicate the program at FACENS.
The second stop was in Rio de Janeiro with the events held in the courtyard of Rio Design Bara, a multi-story shopping, dining and entertainment complex. Rio included: exhibits from local schools, NASA artifacts, hands on exhibits for families, children’s events and a series of lectures. 2018 attendance was estimated at 10,000 people, with more expected more for 2019. Team members were extensively interviewed by media outlets and registration for a future event closed after one hour when all available slots (Exhibits, Lectures, Hands On activities) were taken. Conroy supported exhibits, student visits, meeting with local STEM businesses, and discussion with STEM representatives from the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB – Agência Espacial Brasileira) about Student Projects and implementation of the FSI Senior Design process with AEB and Brazilian universities. A side discussion with R-Crio, a Brazilian Biotechnology company led to a desire for R-Crio to host students in Brazil for specific projects. Follow ups are planned with AEB (April), Science Days leadership and R-Crio.