Seattle’s MESA Day (Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement)

MESA Day brought high school and middle school students from the Seattle area to North Seattle College for a morning of competitions and STEM activities, put on by volunteers in the community. Gaurav and Michael developed an activity using electromyography (EMG) sensors to teach students about neural control of muscles, how we quantify muscle activity, and how we can use that knowledge to improve quality of life. Small groups selected a “test subject” and hooked up an EMG sensor to a muscle of their choice. They then picked tasks to perform, generated corresponding hypothetical muscle activation curves, and experimentally tested their hypotheses. The attendees were impressive. Students, ages 13-18, surprised our PhD students with their curiosity, knowledge, and ability to generate hypotheses and explain their results. Overall, the students seemed to enjoy the event and we hope that we helped them think about how understanding the mechanisms of the human body can be used to improve lives.