Photo Courtesy of Teresa Hunton

This month, Georgia Tech Starter, the world’s first peer-reviewed, university-based crowdfunding platform for research projects, had its first project reach its full funding goal. The project entitled “Develop Teachable Moments for Future STEM Workforce” on GT Starter’s website has exceeded its crowdfunding goal of $500 with just four pledges recorded on the site.

“The project is to try to couple high school students to Ph.D. candidates here at Georgia Tech and get the high school students turned on, very intensely interested in doing  research in the area of stem,” said Dr. James Meindl, Joseph M. Pettit Chair Professor of Microelectronics at Tech and creator of this initiative.

More specifically, this project will have actual Tech graduate students working in their labs and producing real demonstrations to show K-12 students how they do their work and all the tools they use in the state-of-the-art clean rooms in microelectronics and nanotechnology at Tech.

Dr. Meindl has been working alongside co-creators Diana Palma, Academic Professional in the Institute of Electronics and Nanotechnology at Tech, and Christopher Carron, Ph.D. candidate in Electrical Engineering at Tech.

Palma has been instrumental in putting together pitch statements and working on getting the project more exposure through various online forums, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, to reach various possible donors.

The first of those graduate students is Christopher Carron, Ph.D. candidate in Electrical Engineering at Tech who has already been developing his first demonstration titled “Sandcakes and chips – how making a microchip is like baking a cake.” The demonstration will teach four basic principles of semiconductor fabrication through the familiar analogy of baking a cake.

The project has plans to go on to have 20 of these demonstrations recorded by the end of the year and with funding lined up they are steadily moving forward with this initiative.