As part of their final project, the undergraduate students in ME340, Mechanical Engineering Design Methodology, create a video showcasing the unique features and technical savvy of their design projects.
The students kick start their video project by spending one of their class-time lectures with Lauren. She gives the group of over 110 students an overview of why engineers and scientists make movies. By understanding the impact of this form of communication, the students become more passionate to create videos long after their class ends.
Movie making is revved into high gear in an accompanying evening workshop where the students spend two hours with their teams learning how to plan, shoot, and edit their own videos. The students end the day ready to develop their video over the course of the semester.
Communicating Scientific Research National Course
Each fall, around 60 PhD students gather at Simula Research Laboratory to continue on with the second week of study for advanced principles of the course Communicating Scientific Research.
While the students leave the course with new confidence in their presentation and writing skills, Lauren works with the students over three days to further their communication into a new realm: movies. The students collaborate in groups of 2-5 to create a short film that showcases their research to the public in an engaging and entertaining way.
During the week long course, students are given interactive instruction on how proper design can elevate a movie from amateur to inspiring. Through peer-to-peer group critique sessions and individual assistance, Lauren helps each team fine tune their projects. The workshop concludes with a screening night with pizza, awards, and movies participants are proud to share long after the workshop concludes.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
At the end of March 2019, the RPI Engineering Ambassadors hosted an open course for students, professors, organizations, and community groups who wanted to learn to create their own videos.
Although the group was small, the energy was high. With the large variety in topics and interests, Lauren covered many aspects of making videos, urging the students to stretch their creativity through presentation, brainstorming, hands-on exercises, and demonstrations.
After spending the afternoon working with Lauren, participants were ready to create videos to meet their individual needs, be it convincing students to join their organization, attracting students to their major, or even finding funders for their community group.
Pennsylvania State University
Mechanical Engineering First Year Seminar 2015, 2017, 2018
When Penn State offers the course ME 109S: Explore Mechanical Engineering Research, Lauren returns to work with first year students as part of a semester long project. Throughout the course of the semester, students work in pairs to create a video for the research lab of their choice.
In one class period, just 50 minutes, Lauren covers the topics of planning, shooting, and editing that the students will employ throughout the 2 month span of the project. From completion of a preparation assignment, to discussions with professors, all the way through a draft , students implement the teachings from Lauren's lesson.
With the completion of their final videos, each of the labs gain valuable content to showcase their work. Throughout the students' journey in movie making, they gain insight into the world of engineering research.
Every few years, undergraduate Ambassadors from across the country gather for the Engineering Ambassadors Network conference. The Engineering Ambassadors Network addresses the need for strong future leaders in engineering and supports the recruitment of a diverse future generation of engineers. The conference focused on Engineering Ambassadors, but science and other STEM majors were also welcome.
Students spend the weekend developing better communication skills to improve their outreach to middle and high school students. The new ambassadors learn the assertion-evidence approach to presentations while the senior ambassadors spend their time mentoring and working with Lauren to learn new skills creating a short film.
The 40 senior ambassadors split into groups to create a movie from scratch in just three days. Even though the timeframe is short, the students create impactful videos. Not only do the senior ambassadors leave the conference with amazing short films, they return to their universities, continuing to use movies as a means of communication to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists.
This course, run in 2014 with graduate and PhD mechanical engineering students, focused on expanding students' communication skills in order to showcase their lab. Keeping with their trend—the forefront of technology—the students learned to present their work in a new way with video.
Lauren lead a four hour interactive presentation that allowed students to collaborate with their peers and gain the necessary movie-making skills of planning, shooting, and editing. The students left the workshop with the confidence to create their own movie over the course of the semester.
The students then spent several weeks shooting and editing their own movies. Lauren returned to campus for critique sessions with each group. After gaining valuable feedback, each group fine-tuned their movie into a polished piece.
Pennsylvania State University
The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering hosted a course in 2017 and 2018 open to all graduate and undergraduate students from the department as well as engineering communication organizations UTree and Engineering Ambassadors.
The department, labs, and organizations gained valuable content to showcase their work, and the students expanded their communication skills into a new realm–through video.
Students spent a total of three hours with Lauren preparing to create their video. Lauren lead an interactive presentation that allowed students to collaborate with their peers and gain the necessary movie-making skills. At the end of the session, the students left with the confidence to create a movie on their own time.