Georgia Tech Science and Engineering Day – Inspiring the Next Generation of Innovators

Excitement was in the air on Saturday, March 19, 2022, as more than 500 people, ranging from toddlers to retirees, roamed Georgia Tech’s campus for the Science and Engineering Day. The event was part of the 2022 Atlanta Science Festival.

Twenty-six units and student organizations in the Georgia Tech community participated and provided hands-on STEAM activities, tours, and demonstrations designed to engage and educate participants. Topics included nanotechnology, robotics, biology, engineering, art, computer science, and much more. The campus-wide event was organized and coordinated by the Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology (IEN) and the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines.

“Welcoming the public to campus and giving them opportunities to engage with the amazing research happening here – and the talented students and staff that make it happen – is so important for inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers,” said Quinn Spadola, associate director of education and outreach for the NSF-supported National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure and education and outreach coordinator for the Southeastern Nanotechnology Infrastructure Corridor. “We want people to learn how what happens here impacts their lives.” 

“I really liked how I was able to do so many different activities during the day, so I could see all the different programs at Georgia Tech,” said one young participant, who aspires to become a student at the Institute. “I can’t wait for next year!”

The Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology offered multiple activities that illustrated how scientists make and see nanoscale objects. Researchers also gave tours of the IEN cleanroom and answered questions about the research that takes place inside.

“My husband and I were fascinated by all that you and your team have accomplished and are currently working on, and my eight-year-old son was more than inspired after learning so much from you,” an attendee wrote to one of the tour guides after the event. “He told you that he wants to be a scientist in that exact lab, and then he went home to write ideas about what he might invent in there. If nothing else, know that you, your team, and the Georgia Tech event further encouraged a love of science in another young mind.”

Participants also learned about the materials research taking place in the Institute for Materials (IMat) and how materials discovery is the foundation of many new technologies. Students and researchers in the IEN/IMat Materials Characterization Facility were on hand to explain their research and how it is used in everyday life. There was even an opportunity to see what a spider, a hair, and other materials look like under a scanning electron microscope.

In addition to IEN and IMat, the Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience (IBB) hosted several activities with their graduate student groups. Science festival attendees learned the basics of coding, the importance of stem cells, and explored labs featuring virtual reality and 3D printing technology.

While attendees were able to get a glimpse into one of the nation’s most research-intensive universities, the community-wide event also allowed the many students, researchers, and staff members participating the opportunity to share their work with the public.

“So many different groups on campus came together to make this event a success,” added Spadola. “The feedback from the community shows we accomplished what we set out to do – create an event to inspire, excite, and raise awareness about what’s happening here at Tech. We’re already talking about how we can make it even better for next year!”

About the Atlanta Science Festival

Atlanta Science Festival is engineered by Science ATL, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing people together through the wonder of science. Founded in 2014 by Emory University, Georgia Tech, and Metro Atlanta Chamber, the organization produces the Atlanta Science Festival, The Science Scene public events calendar, the Chief Science Officers leadership program for middle and high school students, a science communication fellowship, and additional public science events and learning opportunities throughout the year, such as the 5K Race Through Space. Learn more about us at

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