Poway Meadowbrook Middle School’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program, under the direction of Ms. Kay McHeffey, visited SDSU on November 29th, 2010. In addition to the typical SDSU tour, the class stopped by the Computer Science Department to hear about computer science opportunities and participate in a research demonstration.
Prof. Marie Roch talked about her research with dolphins and how computer science is used to better understand dolphins and whales. What is learned can be used to make informed decisions about how to protect these animals. As part of this discussion, she asked AVID student, Jeremy, to help her with a demonstration of dolphin whistles.
Joanna Nelson, David Fernandes, and Richard Huynh from the Computer Science student ACM group talked to the AVID students about the type of work that computer scientists do and common misconceptions about computer science. In addition, David showed the students an example of the code he wrote for a phone app and then showed them how easy it was to change and rerun the app.
The last stop in the Computer Science Department was the Robotics Lab where Prof. Mahmoud Tarokh showed the students some of the robots currently in the lab and described how they were used in space, air, and land. In addition, he described opportunities for graduate computer science students to work on robotic applications.
AVID student Thomas commented at the end of the demos: “Pretty cool… especially the dolphins and echo location stuff!” And Ms. McHeffey said that “While the overall tour of the campus is interesting and gives the students some points to think about when choosing a college, the extras [computer science demos] are what they will remember”.