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Student-created shared database of Connections (URLs). (A) Example connections include the Category, detail description, the URL, and the Team number submitting. Example Format: Team #24: Organization, Local: https://crscience.org. (B) Categories of Connections shared from our communities where students see paths to future careers. Colored boxes represent different Connection categories.

Student-created shared database of Connections (URLs). (A) Example connections include the Category, detail description, the URL, and the Team number submitting. Example Format: Team #24: Organization, Local: https://crscience.org. (B) Categories of Connections shared from our communities where students see paths to future careers. Colored boxes represent different Connection categories.

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Article
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The goal of our i4’s Toward Tomorrow Program is to enrich the future workforce with STEM by providing students with an early, inspirational, interdisciplinary experience fostering inclusive excellence. We attempt to open the eyes of students who never realized how much their voice is urgently needed by providing an opportunity for involvement, imag...

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Context 1
... build a student course community who sees new paths to future careers, student teams create a shared database of Connections. A Connection is a URL that points to a website ( Fig. 3A; Supplement S10). URL categories range from local to global and can include: (1) publications of biological discoveries and bioinspired designs; (2) research laboratories, centers, institutes, foundations, and companies where discoveries are made and translated; (3) investigators demonstrating diverse paths to success; (4) ...
Context 2
... of doubling for bioinspired design journal publications and conference papers is every 2-3 years compared to 13 years for most scientific fields ( Lepora et al. 2013). Students submit Connections stimulated by the field of bioinspired design that allow them to see both immediate and long-term opportunities toward career paths far beyond the field (Fig. 3B). Students become energized by sharing general categories of engagement, participation, and career paths meaningful to them. Teams submit a Connection before each lecture using an online form that requires a URL, the Connection category selected, and team number (Fig. 3A). After reviewing all submitted Connections, we encourage the ...
Context 3
... and long-term opportunities toward career paths far beyond the field (Fig. 3B). Students become energized by sharing general categories of engagement, participation, and career paths meaningful to them. Teams submit a Connection before each lecture using an online form that requires a URL, the Connection category selected, and team number (Fig. 3A). After reviewing all submitted Connections, we encourage the public and class-wide dissemination of ideas. At the beginning of a lecture, three design teams enthusiastically share their Connections. Additionally, individual students have one week to scan the team Connections and select those of personal interest through a "Like" button ...
Context 4
... Connections. Additionally, individual students have one week to scan the team Connections and select those of personal interest through a "Like" button embedded into each Connection entry. This simple exercise allows students to find inspiring, crowd-sourced career directions based on submissions by the classroom community-at-large (Freeman 2012; Fig. ...
Context 5
... submit both team and individual submissions once a week (Fig. 3A). We have three teams present their Connection at the beginning of class to encourage others to look at and "Like" it. We see how often connections lead to project ideas. We use student feedback of their interests to improve all aspects of the program. In the future, we plan to better organize and offer avenues to follow-up on ...

Citations

... Nature is a fantastic entry-point for teaching [7]; almost everyone has an intuitive sense for animal behavior and locomotion from watching anything from movies to pets, pigeons, squirrels and other ubiquitous wildlife, even without realizing it. What is often needed is simply a way to think about what is already subconsciously known. ...
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Biomimetic and Bioinspired design is not only a potent resource for roboticists looking to develop robust engineering systems or understand the natural world. It is also a uniquely accessible entry point into science and technology. Every person on Earth constantly interacts with nature, and most people have an intuitive sense of animal and plant behavior, even without realizing it. The Natural Robotics Contest is novel piece of science communication that takes advantage of this intuition, and creates an opportunity for anyone with an interest in nature or robotics to submit their idea and have it turned into a real engineering system. In this paper we will discuss the competition's submissions, which show how the public thinks of nature as well as the problems people see as most pressing for engineers to solve. We will then show our design process from the winning submitted concept sketch through to functioning robot, to offer a case study in biomimetic robot design. The winning design is a robotic fish which uses gill structures to filter out microplastics. This was fabricated into an open source robot with a novel 3D printed gill design. By presenting the competition and the winning entry we hope to foster further interest in nature-inspired design, and increase the interplay between nature and engineering in the minds of readers.