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 Girls in Engineering group determined to make use of manga’s reputation with younger folks as a method 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 scholar who makes use of STEM instruments to unravel 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 scholar members. They might submit a number of authentic tales individually, in groups, or on behalf of a preuniversity scholar.

Out of 43 submissions from around the globe, 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 pc programming. WIE has revealed 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 girls—to pursue a STEM profession and to indicate them how nice the sector is.

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

“Once I noticed [IEEE WIE] was on the lookout for tales a couple of younger lady who was fixing issues with engineering, I assumed that it was proper up my alley and that it might be enjoyable,” she says.

Hoping to attach with younger readers by way of 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. Folks use blockchains to maintain information of transactions and exchanges of knowledge with out counting on a government. The system is designed to make use of cryptography to guard data from being altered or stolen.

The concept 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 colleges,” she says. “One of many lecture rooms I went to didn’t have supplies to show college students about STEM topics, so the instructor taught a lesson on aerodynamics utilizing paper airplanes.”

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

Whereas strolling by way of a forest, a paper aircraft all of a sudden lands in entrance of Riko-chan, almost hitting her. Her good friend, who additionally was within the forest, had constructed the aircraft and defined to Riko-chan that she hadn’t meant to hit her; the aircraft was imagined to land farther away. Riko-chan makes use of her data of aerodynamics to indicate her good friend find out how to enhance the aircraft’s design.

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

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

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

“A lot of our world is predicated on know-how, so we have to have a whole 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 spite of everything 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 good friend attempt to restore the previous lights in her grandmother’s home. The 2 ask a web-based AI circuit-design program for instructions on find out 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 scholar Julia Griffin needed her comedian to encourage children to guard the surroundings. Her mom, IEEE Member Denise Griffin, submitted her story, Movement Detected, on her behalf. Within the story, Riko-chan and a good friend are capable of escape being hit by a automotive whereas crossing a busy street. They discover that the pedestrian crossing signal was obstructed by a department from a 100-year-old tree. To enhance the street’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 individuals are crossing the road.

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

Maira Ratnarajah, creator of Lifetime of Our Stunning Earth, pressured STEM’s position in confronting the local weather disaster in her comedian. Ratnarajah is a highschool scholar in the UK. IEEE Member Package 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 expertise and data may help engineers design renewable power methods and research 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 scholar member. It focuses on the significance of cybersecurity. In it, Riko-chan’s good friend Reizei discovers that his cellphone has been hacked. Riko-chan is ready to observe 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 help the competitors, contact the WIE employees.

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