MathMovesU® Day at the University of Arizona
Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) and the 62 members of Raytheon’s Engineering Leadership Development Program’s (ELDP) Class of 2013 hosted its sixth annual MathMovesU (MMU) Day at the University of Arizona (UA) Student Union Grand Ballroom in February. More than 200 high school students were in attendance at this year’s event from Desert View High School, Flowing Wells High School, Pueblo Magnet High School, Sahuarita High School and Santa Rita High School.
MMU Day was supported by volunteers from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association, as well as the University of Arizona’s Early Academic Outreach and Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) programs.
The volunteers came together to teach high school students about Galileo, astronomy and optics by having the students build their very own Galileoscopes. Galileoscopes are mass-produced, personal use, refractor telescopes modeled after the one Galileo used nearly 400 years ago. During the past few years, middle and high school students in the Tucson area have built over 1,000 Galileoscopes for MMU Day.
Building the Galileoscope
Raytheon engineers assisted the students as they built their Galileoscopes with components that included lenses and other optics, O-rings, focusing tubes, glare shields and eyepieces. After assembly, the students learned to aim and then focus their instruments. By the end of the assembly process they were eagerly testing out their new Galileoscopes by focusing on objects in the Student Union Grand Ballroom.
Students enjoyed this opportunity to build and keep their own high-quality Galileoscopes and tripods. While learning about optics and astronomy, the students also had an early exposure to proper assembly, integration and test disciplines, based on some of the basic manufacturing principles practiced at Raytheon.
After the students finished building and testing their Galileoscopes, Raytheon Missile Systems’ retired Vice President of Engineering, Bob Lepore, led a panel discussion on the topic of preparing for a career in science or engineering.
The panel included UA Dean of the College of Engineering Jeff Goldberg, UA Dean of the College of Science Joaquin Ruiz, RMS Systems Engineer Chelsie Morales, RMS Engineer Braaden Schmidt, UA Civil Engineering student (senior) Monica Soto and UA Civil Engineering student (junior) Jose Alberto Aguilar.
The panel emphasized the importance of proper preparation in high school to be ready for college, as well as proper preparation while in college to pursue a career as an engineer. They asserted that any student interested in pursuing their science and engineering interest in college can make it happen, but that the transition can be challenging. When asked how to best prepare for college, UA Dean Jeff Goldberg's advice was to take the best math and science courses offered in their schools. UA senior class Engineering student Monica Soto encouraged the group to contact members of the panel or the Raytheon engineers they met at the event for further advice in pursuing their goals.
MathMovesU Day is just one of the many ways Raytheon pours its resources back into the community. These events engage middle and high school students, motivating them to pursue college after high school. Many students have become intrigued with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and are pursuing careers in math, science and engineering as a result of the efforts of MathMovesU, sponsored by Raytheon.
Contributors: De'Shea Bennett, Travis Dean