Local students spend an engaging morning with STEM presentations at FMA’s Tech Mania

Students checking out construction sites in the virtual world in The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company classroom.

Ninth grade students from four Baltimore County Public High Schools participated in the Fort Meade Alliance’s Tech Mania on April 27 at the Community College of Baltimore County’s Essex Campus.

Students rotated to different classrooms throughout the morning finding an exciting and informative STEM presentation waiting for them. Participating FMA member companies included Community College of Baltimore County, Lockheed Martin Corp., Praxis Engineering and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.

The students in attendance were from Dulaney High School, Owings Mills High School, Pikesville High School and Woodlawn High School.

“It’s a pleasure and honor to be involved with the Fort Meade Alliance’s Tech Mania”, said Jack McLaughlin, Dean of the School of Technology, Art & Design at the Community College of Baltimore County. “Walking by the rooms and seeing the excitement these young people have for STEM-related programs can be infectious. The industry partners and CCBC faculty involved, did a great job of engaging the students.”

CCBC Essex’s Criminal Justice Studies Program gave the students an idea of what it would be like to work in the Criminalistics Lab. Students were able to perform a variety of methods used to catch criminals, including learning the science behind fingerprinting, casting shoe impressions, investigating firearm evidence and studying hair and fiber evidence.

Students learned about different careers in cybersecurity and were then challenged to crack different codes at CCBC Essex’s Cybersecurity Institute. Channeling their inner cryptanalyst, students put their encryption skills to the test and raced to solve different puzzles.

Lockheed Martin used creative methods for having students detect and identify the signals from hidden “black box” emitters. Students were also able to participate in “Spectrum Whack-a-Mole,” matching pulses on different channels sent out by an emitter.

Lockheed Martin presenting students with a fun demonstration on wavelengths.

The pressure was on for students during the Praxis Engineering presentation, as they were given the challenge to find a spy by using Wi-Fi technology. Next, students connected to Wi-Fi and were also able to use Praxis’s Android equipment to “discover” the MAC addresses of their phones.

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. gave students the ability to view construction sites in the virtual world through VR headsets. In addition, students were able to observe the modeling process of a project, guessing what the end result would be.

Tech Mania is held twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

Click here to view photos from this event.