Engineering Ambassador - What to Expect

What to expect…

What to expect from an Engineering Ambassador School Visit:

We will send two or more Engineering Ambassadors (EAs) to your school. We cover grades K-12 and tailor the presentation to the grade level. EAs can visit a class or do a larger format presentation with Q&A (and no hands-on activity) for larger audiences or assemblies. They generally present a 10-15 minute engaging TED style talk on an engineering topic (please see list of possible presentations – grade levels are merely guidelines, we may be able to tailor a presentation to your needs).

Presentations are usually followed by a related hands-on activity. Ideally, class sizes of 15-30 students work best for hands-on activities, although we have accommodated as many as 100 (with help from the school). We ask that you provide a computer that is connected to a projector, sound, and internet access. Powerpoint is preferred. We will do the rest.

Time allotment: generally a class period per presentation, but we are flexible. There is no charge for our visits.

In addition to presentations on engineering topics, we offer a presentation called "My College of Engineering Experience," which individual EAs prepare based upon their unique College of Engineering experience.  These presentations give students a glimpse of one engineering student's experience at  the University of Nebraska, College of Engineering.

Presentation Topics and Descriptions

An Ocean of Possibility: Electricity from Wave Energy

The presentation focuses on the use of wave energy as a renewable energy source and how engineers are working to make it a reality! Students will learn about wave energy’s dependability as an energy source, how it stacks up against other energy technologies, and finally, the current developments on its research.
  • Level: High School


In this presentation, students will learn all about aquaponics (the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics) and the engineering behind it. They will discover how this method of growing crops is very beneficial! Finally, they will learn about aquaponics’ future as an agricultural method and how it could be implemented for the benefit of the planet. 

  • Activity:  The activity includes exploring how a bell siphon works.
  • Level: Upper Elementary, Middle, or High School


For this presentation, students will learn about the basic forces acting on bridges, including compression, tension, torsion, and shear. They will also learn about three main types of bridges: beam, truss, and suspension. The  types of engineers working with bridges and the future of bridges is also discussed. 

  • Activity:  students will design and build their own straw bridges and test them.
  • Level: Upper elementary to middle school

Don’t Skip a Beat: Pacemakers engineered

Students learn about different types of heart beats as well as ways that pacemakers can stabilize the heart. They explore the physics behind pacemakers and discover the types of engineers that work with this technology. 

  • Activity:  Students will either do an activity designing a heart valve or explore electricity using squishy circuits.
  • Level: Middle or High School

Earthquakes and Structures

Students explore the various types of earthquake waves and learn about the physics behind earthquakes. 

  • Activity:  Students will discover how to design a structure which can stand up to an earthquake using toothpicks and marshmallows.
  • Level: Upper Elementary, Middle School or High School

Engineering the Human Body: Tissue Engineering

Students learn about the building blocks of life and how an understanding of biology can be used to engineer stem cells for use in the human body. They discover where stem cells come from and how engineered tissue can be used in medical applications. 

  • Activity: Students will do a somewhat related activity designing a heart valve.
  • Level: Middle or High School

Engineering to the Stars: Rocket Propulsion

During this presentation, students will discover the impact rockets have had on our lives today. They will also learn about how a rocket works: how all of its components function together to its advantage and allow it to rise up into the sky. Finally, students can see how engineers are planning to use rockets in future! 

  • Activity:  Students will have the opportunity to design and fly their own straw rockets using our rocket launcher.
  • Level: Upper Elementary, Middle or High School

Exploring the Sea: Engineering Submarines

Extreme pressure, no air, no light, and unimaginable depths - under the surface, the ocean can be a scary place. Learn about how submarines were designed to tackle these challenges and more, through the careful design of a diverse group of engineers.

  • Activity: An activity for the presentation is being developed.
  • Level: Middle and High School

Fiber Optics

In this presentation, students will learn about the role of fiber optic cables in our world and the physics behind transfer of data in the form of light. They will then be inspired by the various types of engineers involved in the fiber optic technology!
  • Activity:  Currently there is no activity for this presentation.
  • Level: Middle School and high school

The Future at Your Fingertips: Touch Screens

Students discover the science and engineering behind touchscreen technology and learn about the different types of touchscreens. They are challenged to think about how engineers contribute to the world of technology. 

  • Activity:  students will explore the world of electricity using squishy circuits.
  • Level: Middle and High School

Get it Wright: An Intro to Flight

For this presentation, students will understand the four forces involved with flight and how engineers work to harness them, or limit them, in order to have planes fly! Will we discuss the Bernoulli effect as well as the different types of engineering that go into making an airplane.

  • Activity: Students will have the opportunity to engineer their own flying craft in the form of a paper airplane! We will talk about how the forces of flight act on their design and how to improve the force of thrust to improve their planes.
  • Level: Middle School and High School


Students discover hydropower as an alternative source of energy, learning how energy is harnessed from water and how it can be used. Students think creatively about how to design an efficient hydropower system.

  • Activity:  students will have the opportunity to see mechanical energy changed to electrical by creating wind turbines (somewhat related)
  • Level: High School

The Hyperloop

In this presentation students will learn about the Hyperloop, a sealed tube or system of tubes through which a train may travel free of air resistance or friction conveying people or objects at high speed while being very efficient. This proposed method of transportation is an engineering feat that will move people faster and cleaner than ever before. 

  • Activity:  Students will investigate hyperloop principles by designing their own magnetic car using a maglev track!
  • Level: middle and high school

Inspiration from Nature: Engineers Designing Tractors of the Future

This presentation will discuss how engineers are inspired by nature to improve tractor technology.  Students will learn about tractor evolution, understanding sound and echolocation, and how engineers use this technology to design autonomous tractors.  Students will also learn the different types of engineers who work on designing tractors of the future.

  • Activity:  we are still working on pairing an activity with this presentation
  • Level: middle to high school

The Magnus Effect

In this presentation, students will learn about a phenomenon in Physics call the Magnus effect. They will learn about how it works, every day uses of this effect, and engineering applications of it. 

  • Activity:  Students will design and build their own magnus effect flyer.
  • Level: Middle School or High School

Nuclear Energy

This presentation gives a basic overview of nuclear energy. It describes how nuclear energy is very good and renewable for the environment, and concludes with the types of engineering that go into producing nuclear energy. This topic does not have a hands-on activity.

  • Level: Middle and high school

Propellers at Work in Transportation

In this presentation, students will be taught about propellers and how they are unique. First, students learn about how propellers work to “propel” something. Then, they are educated on how engineers have harnessed this technology in boats and helicopters! 

  • Activity: Students will design and create their own paper propellers and see who can create the one that falls the slowest.
  • Level: Upper elementary or Middle School


Students are exposed to prosthetic limbs, the science behind their movement, and the materials which compose them. Students also learn about applications of prosthetics and the engineering that goes into using them. 

  • Activity:  Students will design and create their own prosthetic leg or hand.
  • Level: Middle School or High School

Rollercoaster Engineering

Students learn the ups and downs of roller coaster design and the physics and engineering behind roller coasters. 

  • Activity:  Students will have an opportunity to put on their engineering caps and design and create their own roller coasters using household supplies.
  • Level: any age

Running Scarce: Clean Water Crisis

Students’ eyes are opened to the availability of clean water in the United States and in other areas of the world, specifically developing countries. Students learn about different methods to solve the clean water crisis and are challenged to think of new ideas. 

  • Activity:  Students will  be challenged to design their own water filters.
  • Level: Upper elementary, middle, or high school

Static Electricity

In this presentation, students will learn all about the natural phenomenon static electricity. Though they’ve probably encountered it before, they will learn what static electricity actually is, and how engineers have used static electricity to help the world!

  • Activity:  Students will explore static electricity by doing soda can races
  • Level: Elementary School and Middle School

Surgical Robotics

This presentation will introduce students to modern day robots designed to assist with surgical procedures. Students will learn about how engineers work together to create the robots, and how each part of the robot serves a purpose to make the process more safe and effective. 

  • Activity:  students will have an opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of a surgeon designing tools for a laproscoptic surgery activity!
  • Level: Middle School and High School

What Floats Your Boat? (buoyancy and boats)

Students are exposed to the physics and history of buoyancy, and how it relates to the flotation of boats. They learn about the evolution of boats over time, why boats float, and different types of boats which exist. 

  • Activity: Students will be challenged to design and build boats out of foil that can hold the most amount of pennies!
  • Level:  Elementary or Middle School

Wind Turbines: Don’t Get Left in the Wind

This presentation teaches students about a new type of farming on the rise, but one that has nothing to do with growing food! Students will focus on the importance of wind farms, specifically wind turbines, as well as explore the science behind how they work. Students will learn how they can make a future impact on wind turbine technology in a multitude of different engineering career paths. 

  • Activity:  Students will  have the opportunity to apply the engineering design process by designing and testing their own wind turbines.
  • Level: middle or high school

X-Ray Imaging

This presentation talks about the importance of medical imaging, especially X-rays! Students will find out about the many uses of X-rays – far more than what they may have encountered in a doctor’s office. They will also see how engineers are developing X-rays to help everyone in the future.

  • Activity:  students will design tools for a laproscoptic surgery activity
  • Level: Elementary School or Middle School


Students will learn about the design and the physics and engineering behind zip lines.

  • Activity:  Students will have an opportunity to create and test their own zip line vehicles.
  • Level: upper elementary, middle school

My College of Engineering Experience

This presentation will be unique for each Engineering Ambassador. Each EA will give a glimpse into life as an engineering student at Nebraska. They will talk about their major, extra-curricular activities, and life at the University.

  • Level: best for high school, but could be suitable for middle