Thursday, January 19, 2017

Supporting Future STEM Leaders through eCYBERMISSION!

Frank speaks  at AEOP Alumni Panel
“My experience with eCYBERMISSION encouraged me to become an engineer…by junior year of high school, I had begun an internship with the U.S. Army.”        –Frank Bohn

Frank Bohn is an electrical engineer for the U.S. Army 
Communications Electronics Research and Development Engineering Center Command Power and integration Directorate Power Division in Aberdeen, MD. Frank and his team are developing a tactical micro-grid to more efficiently power army bases.

His work in STEM also includes volunteering with the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program's (AEOP) eCYBERMISSION-a web-based national STEM competition for students in grades 6-9. Frank is a volunteer Virtual Judge, committing his time to scoring projects and providing constructive feedback for competing teams. In 2004, Frank was a part of a national finalist team competing in eCYBERMISSION whose project focused on animal abuse in their community.

               As a Virtual Judge, Frank is able to:

             -IMPACT student learning across the U.S.
             -LEARN how students apply STEM studies in a school setting
             -REVIEW, score, and write meaningful comments for team projects
             -SHARE his STEM knowledge expertise learned in school and career
             -ENJOY the flexibility and convenience of volunteering online 

eCYBERMISSION is a success because of volunteers like Frank. He strives to be a leader in everything he does, even encouraging his colleagues to volunteer with eCYBERMISSION as Virtual Judges and mentors for other programs in AEOP.

Frank is achieving his goal everyday by developing more leadership skills through the work he is doing with the U.S. Army and giving back to the community through AEOP volunteer opportunities.

“It is an amazing feeling to see these young kids getting excited about STEM,” said Frank. “It is an honor, and it gives me great pride to be able to volunteer and give back to eCYBERMISSION and AEOP.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

eCYBERMISSION, Volunteering, and Music: A Perfect STEM Formula

Lisa Benson is what we consider a veteran with the eCYBERMISSION volunteer program. After four years volunteering as a Virtual Judge and one National Judging & Educational Event (NJ&EE) under her belt, Lisa has proven her time and effort in inspiring youth to STEM excellence nationwide.

A college degree in astronomy later turned into a career as a Quality/Test Engineer. Officially titled Physical Scientist, Lisa works for the Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate. If Lisa hadn’t gone into the engineering field, she probably would have become a teacher.

“This is my way of reaching out and educating, and sharing my enthusiasm for the sciences, without actually having to be in a school every day,’ said Lisa. “I don’t think I’d have the stamina of a teacher full-time.”

Volunteering as an eCYBERMISSION Virtual Judge, Lisa draws on her experiences in college, especially when a team is really close but missing a point or a variable in their experiment. Participating in NJ&EE helped put things in perspective for Lisa. She participated in STEM workshops and was able to talk with the kids about her jobs technology.

“To actually see the teams’ projects and hear their thought process was amazing,” said Lisa. “I make sure not to discourage anyone, but let students know that mistakes are a part of science and the overall experimentation process.”

In her free time, Lisa continues to lend her time. Lisa plays the tenor saxophone for the local community band where she lives in Virginia. The band plays all genres of music but more recently has tried to play show tunes and movie soundtracks. Traditional and classical tunes are favorites amongst the community.  

 Just as in music, Lisa feels there’s always opportunity for STEM but it’s not always communicated appropriately.

“I see the STEM opportunity locally but I just don’t see a lot of people taking advantage,” said Lisa. “I definitely find myself looking forward to being a virtual judge with eCYBERMISSION each year.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Look at STEM-in-Action Grant Teams.....In Action!

eCYBERMISSION's STEM-in-Action Grant program provides an opportunity for up to five student teams each year to receive a grant up to $5,000. Teams that receive this U.S. Army funded grant have an additional year to further implement their Mission Folder projects submitted for the competition.

Let's take a look at the 2015-16 eCYBERMISSION STEM-in-Action Grant recipients!

For more information, visit us at

Team: Baby cAir
Location: Shanghai, China
Baby cAir realized one of the most pressing issues facing the Chinese community was air pollution. The team has proven links to short and long term respiratory illness, which is increased when looking at the effects on infants. Currently, they are working on a newer version that will fully implement a working feedback loop with high quality sensors, along with a newer, more aesthetically appealing design that will allow the baby to see outside more.  

Team: Power Play
Location: Belfast, ME
Team Power Play’s community has been making efforts to become more eco-friendly over the past few years because of the negative impact of burning fossil fuels. With their STEM-In- Action Grant, they are building a local park or playground in the near future. Power Play will be collaborating with a team of senior engineering students from the University of Maine to build a more efficient model and successfully build a merry-go-round that generates power as it's being used.

Team: Envo
Location: Farmington, AR
Team Envo’s community has grown fast and now has more problems with flooding following any heavy rain. Envo plans to work with local officials and their county extension agent to select plants such as shrubs and grasses that will be planted along the banks of a local stream in their community. Team Envo’s goal is to establish plants with root systems that would anchor the soil along the stream, reducing the amount of soil runoff.

Team: Rocky Run
Location: Chantilly, VA

A tragedy occurred, affecting someone Rocky Run team members knew personally, in which their house had burned down due to a stove fire. To address this issue, Rocky Run created created a device using a Raspberry Pi microcomputer to detect dangerous stovetop temperature levels that will alert the homeowner. Rocky Run's short term goals begin with soldering all of the device’s components together and packaging it neatly and aesthetically.

Team: Styro-Filter
Location: Gahanna, OH
Styro-Filter's project addressed the growing problem of Styrofoam trash, which consumes 25% of US landfills and takes thousands of years to degrade. Unfortunately, almost all of their attempts to convert Styrofoam into carbon failed. Many of their samples completely vaporized, which was very discouraging and they almost gave up. But finally, they experimented with a lower temperature and achieved success! With the STEM-in-Action Grant, Styro-Filter plans to continue improving their process and to apply for a full patent.   

Stay tuned as we follow these five STEM-in-Action Grant teams as they make progress on their projects!