Bio­engi­neering grad­uate stu­dent Chi-​​yin Tse tied a rubber band to a piece of string that sixth-​​grader Lily Coplen looped around her body. Coplen’s class­mate affixed another piece of string around her wrist.

The con­trap­tion rep­re­sented a bicep exoskeleton, which served as a visual rep­re­sen­ta­tion of how bio­me­chan­ical engi­neers create pros­thetic limbs.

The activity was an inter­ac­tive way to teach kids how an exoskeleton can work,” Tse said. “It allowed them to uti­lize the engi­neering design process.”

Tse was one of six North­eastern stu­dents and recent alumni working in the Center for STEM Edu­ca­tion who led some 60 Boston middle school stu­dents through a series of bio­me­chanics activ­i­ties on Oct. 26 in the Curry Stu­dent Center. Stu­dents in the Dear­born Middle School and Northeastern’s STEP UP partner schools — including the Curley and Orchard Gar­dens K-​​8 schools — par­tic­i­pated in the program.

The center serves as a con­necting link between the university’s sci­ence, tech­nology, engi­neering and math pro­grams and the com­mu­nity, and plays a key role in improving STEM edu­ca­tion in the Com­mon­wealth of Mass­a­chu­setts and beyond.

Stu­dents working for the center host sev­eral field trips for local stu­dents each year. Many of the engi­neering activ­i­ties are based on research being con­ducted in North­eastern lab­o­ra­to­ries. The exoskeleton demon­stra­tion, for example, is based on the work of mechan­ical and indus­trial engi­neering pro­fessor Hamid Nayeb-​​Hashemi.

As part of the field trip, North­eastern stu­dents and recent alumni stressed the impor­tance of preparing for col­lege by earning good grades and taking chal­lenging courses in middle and high school.

Naomy Figueroa, a sixth-​​grader at the Dear­born Middle School, has high hopes for her future, which may include becoming a lawyer or a sci­en­tist.  “I want to study bio­genetics and look at dif­ferent living things,” she said. “Plus I want to study chemistry.”

Written by Lauren Horn.