How a Tiara Inspires My Volunteer Work in STEM Education

Jan 09, 2018 By Lenore M. Edman, Co-Founder, Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories; FIRST Mentor & Volunteer




Editor’s note: A version of this blog post originally appeared on the Evil Mad Scientist blog.

Last year while attending FIRST Robotics Competition events with the Firebots, I had the privilege of serving as a judge at both the Central Valley Regional and the Sacramento Regional. Judging gives an opportunity to get to know the folks involved in the competition, whether they’re students, mentors, or other volunteers. I’ve judged and volunteered at a few events now, and one of the great things to see is the way that the community builds and nurtures itself.

One of the students I met in past years, Callie, had graduated from her team, but keeps coming back as a volunteer. Callie was refereeing at both events, and shone brightly as a role model. Literally. She built an LED tiara and programmed it to light in the event colors of red, white, and blue.Lenore Edman - Blog author

That’s Callie wearing her creation, above. It is made with Adafruit Flora Neopixels, a Gemma controller and a small LiPo battery. While you don’t necessarily need an LED tiara to shine as a role model, Adafruit does have a tutorial so that you can make one, too.

Callie is a student at UC Davis and a truly wonderful role model for the high school students at the events. Students like Callie – and her LED tiara – inspire me to keep volunteering and nurturing the next generation of creative makers and problem solvers.

Lenore M. Edman co-founded Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, a family owned small business in Sunnyvale, California, that designs and produces hobby electronic kits, drawing robots, and retro-technological objects. She studied English and classical Greek for her college degree, and enjoys inhabiting the intersections of electronics, sewing, food, papercraft and science.


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