Utilizing Manga to Spark Curiosity in STEM

Manga has grown in reputation in recent times amongst younger adults. The Japanese comics and graphic novels dominated final yr’s Circana BookScan graphic novels gross sales charts.

The IEEE Ladies in Engineering group determined to make use of manga’s reputation with younger individuals as a solution to encourage women to think about a profession in STEM fields.

WIE held its first competitors final yr to search out the best-written manga that centered round a personality WIE created: Riko-chan, a preuniversity pupil who makes use of STEM instruments to resolve on a regular basis issues. The competitors, which was supported by the IEEE Japan Council and the IEEE New Initiatives Committee, was open to all IEEE members and pupil members. They may submit a number of authentic tales individually, in groups, or on behalf of a preuniversity pupil.

Out of 43 submissions from all over the world, six winners have been chosen.

The successful manga tales can be found to learn on-line.

Explaining how blockchain and aerodynamics work

One of many winners was IEEE Member Carolyn Sher-DeCusatis, who teaches software program engineering at Western Governors College, in Salt Lake Metropolis. Her areas of curiosity embody physics, semiconductors, and laptop programming. WIE has printed her two successful comics on its web site.

Sher-DeCusatis says she entered the competition as a result of she enjoys encouraging children—particularly women and younger ladies—to pursue a STEM profession and to indicate them how nice the sector is.

She has quite a lot of expertise writing fiction as a result of it’s her interest. That is the primary time her work has been printed.

“After I noticed [IEEE WIE] was searching for tales a few younger girl who was fixing issues with engineering, I believed that it was proper up my alley and that it will be enjoyable,” she says.

Hoping to attach with younger readers via a Pokémon-inspired card recreation, Sher-DeCusatis’s first comedian,Riko-chan: Cybersecurity Engineer, facilities round two of the title character’s classmates who’re involved whether or not a uncommon buying and selling card used of their favourite recreation is genuine.

Riko-chan makes use of blockchain know-how to assist confirm the cardboard’s authenticity. Individuals use blockchains to maintain data of transactions and exchanges of knowledge with out counting on a government. The system is designed to make use of cryptography to guard info from being altered or stolen.

The thought for Sher-DeCusatis’s second comedian, she says, got here from a private expertise she had whereas volunteering for IEEE.

“By means of the group, I’ve helped [preuniversity] academics conduct hands-on actions in native faculties,” she says. “One of many school rooms I went to didn’t have supplies to show college students about STEM topics, so the trainer taught a lesson on aerodynamics utilizing paper airplanes.”

On the finish of the lesson, college students needed to construct a paper airplane and throw it at a goal. The expertise impressed Riko-chan: Aeronautical Engineer.

Whereas strolling via a forest, a paper airplane instantly lands in entrance of Riko-chan, practically hitting her. Her buddy, who additionally was within the forest, had constructed the airplane and defined to Riko-chan that she hadn’t supposed to hit her; the airplane was imagined to land farther away. Riko-chan makes use of her data of aerodynamics to indicate her buddy tips on how to enhance the airplane’s design.

Sher-DeCusatis says she hopes readers can determine with Riko-chan.

“I believe having various illustration in media, like books, comics, and graphic novels, will assist convey extra youngsters into STEM,” she says. “Fiction reaches our hearts, and when younger individuals learn tales about somebody who seems like them, they will say: ‘That might be me.’

“It’s actually essential to excite college students from a wide range of backgrounds about engineering,” she provides, “as a result of it’s important to the way forward for STEM to have quite a lot of completely different voices contributing.

“A lot of our world is predicated on know-how, so we have to have quite a lot of voices to form its future.

“I additionally assume it’s enjoyable and thrilling,” she provides. “That’s why I’m nonetheless doing it in any case these years.”

Confronting local weather change and cybersecurity threats

The opposite 4 successful comics cowl synthetic intelligence, local weather change, and cybersecurity.

Riko-chan and the Good Circuit, written by IEEE Member Lais Lara Baptista, follows the character as she and a buddy attempt to restore the outdated lights in her grandmother’s home. The 2 ask an internet AI circuit-design program for instructions on tips on how to restore the lights’ outdated circuitry.

“I see Riko-chan as a strong motivator,” says Baptista, a full-stack developer based mostly in Brazil. “I hope my comedian evokes women to see themselves as problem-solvers, able to mastering the world of STEM.”

Highschool pupil Julia Griffin wished her comedian to encourage children to guard the setting. Her mom, IEEE Member Denise Griffin, submitted her story, Movement Detected, on her behalf. Within the story, Riko-chan and a buddy are capable of escape being hit by a automobile whereas crossing a busy highway. They discover that the pedestrian crossing signal was obstructed by a department from a 100-year-old tree. To enhance the highway’s security measures with out damaging the tree, the women set up a movement detector that units off a flashing mild to inform drivers when persons are crossing the road.

“A love for the world round us can inspire younger minds to pursue STEM and clear up a number of the world’s largest challenges: environmental points,” Griffin says.

Maira Ratnarajah, writer of Lifetime of Our Stunning Earth, careworn STEM’s position in confronting the local weather disaster in her comedian. Ratnarajah is a highschool pupil in the UK. IEEE Member Equipment August submitted the story on her behalf.

In Ratnarajah’s comedian, Riko-chan sees a toxic cloud within the sky and works to scale back the carbon footprint people go away on Earth.

“STEM abilities and data may also help engineers design renewable power methods and examine how local weather change impacts our ecosystems,” Ratnarajah says. “Manga, just like the one I wrote, can inspire women to pursue STEM to develop inexperienced applied sciences.”

The ultimate manga entry, Riko-chan: The Science Solver, was written by Devidas Kulkarni, an IEEE graduate pupil member. It focuses on the significance of cybersecurity. In it, Riko-chan’s buddy Reizei discovers that his cellphone has been hacked. Riko-chan is ready to monitor down who did it.

Submissions for this yr’s manga story competitors are actually being accepted. Try the guidelines and deadlines.

In case your group wish to assist the competitors, contact the WIE workers.

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