The wave lab education and outreach program strives to provide “K to Grey” engagement in coastal and civil engineering to broaden participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). From the Open House program to the K-12 school visit program to undergraduate research, we provide opportunities to learn about engineering, research and coastal hazards. We excel at using the on-going work at the laboratory to highlight the importance of engineering and research to the built and natural environment.
Annually we host over 4000 visitors from local residents to middle school students to decision makers and international researchers from places such as Korea, New Zealand and Spain. These tours highlight the importance of coastal engineering, the research process, and the day-to-day operations of the large-scale laboratory. We work with these individual groups to address their specific learning goals. Additionally we host 2-3 open houses per year for guests with a more general interest in the laboratory. Our goal for these open houses is to provide visitors an understanding of coastal hazards, coastal engineering, and the good works of the laboratory research program.
We also offer more in-depth learning opportunities through the Tsunami Structure Challenge as well as undergraduate and graduate research programs. The Tsunami Structure Challenge is offered to 1st year engineering students and middle school students to highlight the engineering design process. In the challenge, students design, build and test a small structure that is subjected to waves in our facility. This activity builds excitement for coastal engineering while reinforcing its societal benefit. Research and testing projects at the laboratory often provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to “get their feet wet” with research.