Mock Lectures

Our professors are excited to provide lectures to middle and high school students on a wide variety topics with the hopes of not only emparting new knowledge, but to also get more youth excited about engineering careers. Use the menu below to view topics currently being offered. Don't see what you're looking for? Let us know and we'll see what we can put together for you. Lectures can be made available in person as classroom visits, or online. 

Lecture Topic Grades Duration Presenter
Arctic Coastal Hazards and Risks 9-12 10-20 min Dr. Tom Ravens
Breaking the Sound Barrier 9-12 20-40 min Dr. Jennie Brock
Data Representation & Error Detection 5-8 30 min Dr. Kenrick Mock
Failure of a Wind Turbine in Nome, AK 6-12 20 min Dr. Matt Cullin
Heat Transfer and Smoked Salmon 4-9 10-20 min Dr. Jennie Brock
How Buildings Shake 6-12 20-60 min Dr. Scott Hamel
Internal Combustion Engines 4-12 20-60 min Dr. Matt Cullin
Material Selection in Mechanical Engineering 9-12 45 min Dr. Matt Cullin

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Arctic Coastal Hazards and Risk

coastal erosion

Discipline: Civil Engineering
Grades: 9-12
Duration: 10-20 minutes
Presenter: Dr. Tom Ravens, Civil Engineering Professor

Abstract: This lecture describes the hazards and risks by coastal communities in Alaska. It shows how we can use basic engineering principles to forecaset future environmental conditions and to plan for them.

Breaking the Sound Barrier

old airplane

Discipline: Mechanical Engineering
Grades: 9-12
Duration: 20-40 minutes
Presenter: Dr. Jennie Brock, Interim Associate Dean of Academics and Mechanical Engineering Professor

Abstract: The lecture focuses on the history of the idea of the sound barrier: where did the idea come from, why did people believe that it couldn’t be broken, who were these people who believed it couldn’t be broken, etc.  It lays out the science for why fluid dynamics at extremely high speeds is a more complex mathematical problem than fluid dynamics at lower speeds.  It also goes through the surprising history of compressible fluid dynamics, which reveals that the science was actually pretty well-established in a lot of ways before the start of the twentieth century. 

Data Representation and Error Detection


Discipline: Computer Science
Grades: 5-8
Duration: 30-40 minutes
Presenter: Dr. Kenrick Mock, Interim Dean Computer Science Professor

Abstract: This lecture and participatory activity describes how computers represent information in binary, how that information can be transmitted from one computer to another, and how we can detect whether an error may have occurred during transmission.

Failure of a Wind Turbine in Nome, AK


Discipline: Mechanical Engineering
Grades: 6-12
Duration: 20 minutes
Presenter: Dr. Matt Cullin, Mechanical Engineering Professor

Abstract:  This lecture examines the catastrophic failure of a wind turbine in Nome, AK. Relevant aspects of wind turbine operation are introduced and remnants of the failed component are examined. The process for determining the root cause of failure of the turbine is described. A discussion of fatigue cracking in mechanical components is provided.


Heat Transfer and Smoked Salmon

smoked salmon

Discipline: Mechanical Engineering
Grades: 4-9
Duration: 10-20 minutes
Presenter: Dr. Jennie Brock, Interim Associate Dean of Academics and Mechanical Engineering Professor

Abstract:  This lecture Introduces heat transfer concepts and discusses the smoked salmon lab that I do with my seniors. Can be adjusted for length.

How Buildings Shake

Building Destroyed

Discipline: Civil Engineering
Grades: 6-12
Duration: 20-60 minutes
Presenter: Dr. Scott Hamel, Civil Engineering Professor

Abstract: This lecture provides a basic introduction to the motions buildings experience during earthquakes and the primary structural systems that prevent them from falling down

Internal Combustion Engines


Discipline: Mechanical Engineering
Grades: 4-12
Duration: 20-60 minutes
Presenter: Dr. Matt Cullin, Mechanical Engineering Professor

Abstract: This lecture introduces the fundamentals of internal combustion engine operation. Longer modules include a discussion of the physics behind several critical engine components (i.e., carburetor, magneto, etc.) and hands on exploration of a disassembled lawnmower engine.

Material Selection in Mechanical Engineering


Discipline: Mechanical Engineering
Grades: 9-12
Duration: 45 minutes
Presenter: Dr. Matt Cullin, Mechanical Engineering Professor

Abstract: This lecture explores the material selection portion of the engineering design process. Automotive brake rotors are used as an illustrative example of the interplay between geometry, material selection, and performance of a mechanical component. Students are introduced to the physical properties of four classes of engineering materials: metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites. Common brake rotor designs are examined to illustrate the tradeoffs between cost, performance, and reliability that are commonly encountered in engineering practice.