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HFES Bulletin

June 2014
Volume 57, Number 6

Inside HFES

HFES Promotes HF/E at USA Science and Engineering Festival

By Gary Orr, Chair, Public Outreach Committee

HFES was proud to be one of more than 3,000 exhibitors at the 3rd USA Science and Engineering Festival (USASEF) in Washington, D.C., the weekend of April 25–27, 2014. USASEF is the largest national science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) event of the year. The festival aims to reinvigorate the interest of the nation's youth in STEM by presenting opportunities for organizations like HFES to demonstrate their fields in entertaining and educational ways. About 325,000 people attended the festival.

Imagine sharing HF/E with more than 600 people, and you'll get a sense of the fun we had at the HFES booth. We were excited to be able to highlight our science through several interactive demonstrations, including an actual Cessna flight simulator and an air traffic control simulation from Marywood University.

The HFES booth at the 3rd USA Science and Engineering Festival.

As kids (and a lot of adults) waited in line to land the Cessna at Reagan National Airport, festivalgoers also viewed posters of good and bad designs, tested their perception with optical illusions, and were amazed by the STROOP effect. We distributed hundreds of HFES brochures and wristbands to spread the word about the science and the Society. We extolled the value of HF/E to designers and engineers, and its importance in the lives of users.

The popularity of the HFES booth was a direct result of the enthusiasm and expertise of the volunteers from the George Mason University Student Chapter, Danny Dever (Marywood University), and the HFES Potomac Chapter. Special thanks go to the HFES Public Outreach Committee members who worked for months to plan the exhibit and bring it to fruition: Andy Dattel (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University), Melissa Smith (George Mason University), Liz Lazzara (University of Kansas School of Medicine and Wichita State University), and Outreach Division Chair Arathi Sethumadhavan (Medtronic Inc.).

We extend a big thank you to the exhibit sponsors:

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Potomac Chapter, Washington, D.C.
  • National Center for Human Factors Engineering in Healthcare, MedStar Institute for Innovation, Washington, D.C.
  • Marywood University, Psychology and Counseling Department, Scranton, PA
  • David J. Cochran, professor emeritus, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Betty Murphy, human factors scientist

Finally, we are very thankful for advice and unwavering support from HFES staff members Lois Smith and Carlos de Falla.

The USA Science and Engineering Committee has satellite events across the country. We hope our booth is the kernel for an outreach exhibit that can be used at other venues. If an event is being held in your area, please plan to attend; better yet, plan to host the HFES booth!

Gary Orr works for the Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

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