Professor Sparky Strikes Again

Rick McMaster

Since early 2011, Rick McMaster ’72, M’74 has been a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics  (STEM) advocate for IBM, working with education and business to create alliances that promote STEM in P-20 and choosing  best practices for IBM to endorse. He has recommended Florida State University’s CPALMS (Collaborate, Plan, Align, Learn, Motivate, Share) as a best practice to vet resources for K-12 teachers, highlighted the Innovation Academy jointly developed by IBM/Boulder and the St. Vrain Valley School District for elementary and middle school students, delved into Fujitsu’s support of Japan’s Future Schools program, and begun discussions with the National Science Foundation on how to improve coordination among STEM programs. He uses social media to communicate innovations in STEM solutions within IBM and outside the company. This includes tweeting as DrKold and a monthly column in the MIT STEM Pals newsletter. He has contributed two videos to the MIT BLOSSOMS video library: “How Cold is Cold, What is Temperature” and “How Cold is Cold, Properties of Materials.”

Rick McMaster

In June 2012, Rick was elected to a two-year term on the board of the Corporate Management Council, American Society of Engineering Education, where he is also a member of the K-12 Special Interest Group. He is also a member of the National Science Teachers Association and continues to serve as a community outreach adviser to Design Squad Nation, WGBH, Boston, Mass., and to Cyberchase, WNET, New York, N.Y.

Rick McMaster

In a classroom demonstration, Rick McMaster uses a Van de Graaff generator to make aluminum pie plates fly.

In recognition of his efforts to support STEM outreach, Rick was included in the One Hundred Who Make a Difference as part of IBM’s Centennial Celebration. He continues as his alter ego Dr. Kold in demonstrating the physics of very cold media, and has also developed a micro-volts to mega-volts demonstration which he presents as Professor Sparky. A demonstration and hands-on activities exploring the properties of sound and waves has recently been developed.