School of Engineering Students Host STEM Day at NBA All-Star Weekend

School of Engineering Students Host STEM Day at NBA All-Star Weekend

(Left to Right) Conor Landry ’23, Dr. John Drazan, and Omar Jack ’23

(Left to Right) Conor Landry ’23, Dr. John Drazan, and Omar Jack ’23 at the NBA All Stars.

This winter, John Drazan, PhD, and two undergraduate engineering students traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, to lead a STEM Day for local youths at the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities.

Last month, assistant professor of biomedical engineering John Drazan, PhD, led Conor Landry ’23 and Omar Jack ’23, who are part of his senior design team, to the NBA All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah, where they held a STEM Day for local Utah students. The trip was made in partnership with the non-profit 4th Family, an organization that empowers the community by providing at-risk young people and adults with an array of unique personal development opportunities.

The School of Engineering was one of 13 youth development programs selected to participate in the weekend, which also included NBA stars Jason Collins, Collin Sexton, and Kahleah Copper. The engineering students worked with more than 250 local youths in a clinic to teach engineering concepts through sports activities as part of a Jr. NBA event featuring presumptive top-5 NBA Draft Pick, Scoot Henderson.

Senior design team students Conor Landry ’23, Omar Jack ’23, Alex Hemmat ’23, and Eric Hawkinson ’23 have spent the past two semesters helping 4th Family to develop their do-it-yourself (DIY) combine technology, a series of DIY assessment tools that measure a student’s athletic performance through drills that mimic the NBA Draft combine (an event where rookie players are tested and evaluated before teams bid to have them on their side).

The Fairfield engineering students have brought their DIY combine technology with them to events across the nation for various STEM days; accompanied by Dr. Drazen, Landry and Jack traveled with it to Utah. There, they taught program participants about muscle memory, fast-twitch muscle fibers, and data collection, in order to demonstrate how STEM and athletics work together. 

Landry described the experience as incredibly fulfilling and was especially excited about being able to “share [his] project and passion for STEM with the kids at the event." He said the largest takeaway was “being able to see how much excitement and joy was created by something [he] designed. Nothing could have prepared [him] for how engaged each kid was.” Landry also said these programs are important ways to spark kids' engagement and interest in STEM studies.

Jack described his experience as “professional and enlightening." He said, “everyone was excited to see [the Fairfield students] and were enthusiastic about the technology we had designed for the youth program." Jack also expressed his excitement about being able to meet significant figures from Microsoft as well as the NBA, and was appreciative of everyone’s support for the program.

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Tags:  School of Engineering and Computing,  Top Stories


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