The Institute - June 2020 - TI13




EEE Member Victoria Serrano, an engineering professor at the Universidad
Tecnológica de Panamá in Chiriquí,
has come across many preuniversity
students who don't have a clue what
kinds of science, technology, engineering, and math careers are available. She
understood because she didn't become
interested in electrical engineering until
she was in high school.
In 2016 she decided to help such teens
by launching STEM Beyond the Borders.
The program used robots to teach preuniversity students in Panama about STEM
subjects. Classes were held not only in
classrooms but also in public marketplaces and church recreation rooms.
The program received financial support
from the IEEE Control Systems Society and
EPICS in IEEE, which aims to empower
students to apply technical solutions to aid

their communities. Today, Serrano continues her mission through independent
outreach efforts in the country.
For her work, Serrano received the
2019 IEEE Educational Activities Board
Meritorious Achievement Award in Outreach and Informal Education. The award
honors IEEE members who teach STEM
skills outside a classroom setting.

Serrano, born and raised in Panama,
found her calling for educational outreach while pursuing her master's degree
and doctorate in electrical engineering at
Arizona State University, in Tempe.
She says she was determined to focus
only on her studies; however, a fellow
graduate student, Michael Thompson,
asked her to help out at the university's
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

Victoria Serrano helps two
students install an infrared sensor
on their Lego Mindstorms robot.

chapter and the Mechanical-Autonomous
Vehicles Club, where students research,
design, and fly small radio-controlled aircraft. When Serrano visited local schools
on behalf of both organizations, she taught
the preuniversity students about mathematical concepts, using hands-on activities such as designing mechanical birds.
"When I realized what wonderful things
could be done through outreach programs in the United States, I wanted to
bring those types of projects to my home
country," Serrano says.
While creating the STEM Beyond the
Borders curriculum, she took inspiration from those volunteering activities.

She says the most popular hands-on
activity she teaches today in Panama
is building Lego Mindstorms


JUN 2020



The Institute - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Institute - June 2020

The Institute - June 2020 - TI1
The Institute - June 2020 - TI2
The Institute - June 2020 - TI3
The Institute - June 2020 - TI4
The Institute - June 2020 - TI5
The Institute - June 2020 - TI6
The Institute - June 2020 - TI7
The Institute - June 2020 - TI8
The Institute - June 2020 - TI9
The Institute - June 2020 - TI10
The Institute - June 2020 - TI11
The Institute - June 2020 - TI12
The Institute - June 2020 - TI13
The Institute - June 2020 - TI14
The Institute - June 2020 - TI15
The Institute - June 2020 - TI16