Engineering Discovery Days

Josh MacKintosh, DO-IT Staff

After being asked to help staff Engineering Discovery Days, I had no idea the experience I was committing myself to. Since I’ve only been working for DO-IT for a few months, I asked the other student assistants about their experiences – everyone assured me that I would have fun, but that it wasn't going to be a relaxing time. Growing up with a mom who is an elementary school teacher, I felt aptly conditioned for the task at hand, though it had been a while since I was around so many kids.

I spent extra time learning about the accessible science materials we were displaying so I could answer any question thrown at me; I was excited to inspire a few young students to pursue higher education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Though the morning began rather quiet, within hours, our display turned into a revolving door of children, parents, and teachers. We constantly explained what the specific instruments were and how they enabled people with disabilities to pursue STEM education.

Still, in the chaos of the day, there was one fourth grader who made a deep impact on my experience at Discovery Days. Like most of the kids, he asked me, “What is this?” in reference to the Color Teller. After explaining to him, his face lit up. He was colorblind, and he often struggled in school to distinguish between reds and greens in particular. After he got to try it out, he remained at the table for over 15 minutes, asking about each and every piece of equipment on the table. It was that moment that made me realize the tangibility of accessible technology. And because of him, I’m excited to work Engineering Discovery Days next year!