Dordt College News

Amping up interest in electronics: Dordt electrical engineering majors will put together kits for local library

February 10, 2012

Sioux Center Public Library patrons will benefit from a $2,000 grant recently awarded to the library by the Chicago section of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) to help get local children excited about electronics.

Dordt College Professor Dr. Douglas De Boer learned of the grant last year and contacted David Netz, then the director of the library (recently retired), to suggest the college and library partner in applying for the grant. Several engineering students wrote the grant, which was reviewed by Netz and De Boer before submission. The library recently received word that The Sioux Center Public Library was one of the 26 winners of the “Science Kits for Public Libraries” grants in the Upper Midwest.

“We are so excited to partner with Dordt in this endeavor,” said Sioux Center Public Library Director Becky Bilby. “What a great service to offer to our community. We are honored to work together to provide these kits and training for teachers, parents, and students.”

Dordt electrical engineering majors will put together the kits that will give children hands-on electronics experience.

“Now that we’ve received the grant, we’ll start figuring out the details of what should go into each kit and purchase or write the guide books,” says De Boer.

The $2,000 grant will go toward the purchase of supplies for boxes of electronics equipment that can be checked out from the library. Dordt students will put together beginner, intermediate, and advanced kits. They’ll also provide guide books for each level that will give children some ideas for what to do the items in the boxes. A beginner box might include such things as a small DC motor, batteries, and wires. The students plan to have the kits ready for use by the middle of May. 

Although the library will administer the program, Dordt students will do some yearly upkeep to the kits, replacing and maybe repairing parts.

“This is a great thing for students to be involved in,” says De Boer. Students hope to schedule a seminar in which they’ll work with interested children on some projects they can do with the kits.

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