Engineers Change the World: A Hands-on Workshop for Girls 13 to18 Years Old
A Project by: James Martin, NCSU, Nina Barker, UF and Leslie Washburn, UF
(STRIDE Project 2012-009S - Engineering: It's for Girls, Too!)
NCSU and UF are continuing their collaboration to introduce girls to engineering in the second year of the STRIDE center funded project Engineers Change the World - A Hands-on Workshop for Girls 13-18 Years Old, previously titled Engineering: It’s for Girls, Too. The project is a response to the USDOT Transportation YOU initiative, a partnership with the Women Transportation Seminar (WTS) to provide hands-on interactive, mentoring programs to young girls to introduce them to a wide variety of transportation careers.
TEAM UP at Arlington Middle School in Jacksonville Fla contacted the University of Florida for help encouraging middle school girls to join a robotics team. TEAM UP is a quality, no-cost after school program that provides a safe environment where students are encouraged and motivated to succeed in both their academic and enrichment activities. Leslie Washburn and Morgan Witter provided a workshop with TEAM UP on October 19, 2013 for eleven girls to learn more about careers in transportation engineering and LEGO robotic programing. The girls watched videos, presentations, worked on programing tutorials and developed their own programs for following a bus route and detecting pedestrians. The TEAM UP girls have started a robotics team and plan to compete in a LEGO League competition next year.
Due to the success and enthusiasm the girls at TEAM UP demonstrated utilizing the robots as a hands-on introduction to engineering careers, UF hosted a workshop in Gainesville for nine girls on February 17, 2014. This workshop included a panel discussion over lunch where the girls asked engineers questions about their careers and becoming an engineer. The next workshop will be hosted at a Girl Scout summer camp.
The Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) at North Carolina State University is partnering with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) on their Introduce a Girl to Engineering initiative. Two workshops were held in February: February 18, 2014 in Raleigh, NC with 24 girls attending and February 20, 2014 in Winston-Salem, NC with 63 girls in attendance. A panel of engineers from NCDOT talked about how they became interested in engineering, shared their college experiences, and described what they do in their jobs. The highlight of the day was the group activity in which the girls designed and built rubber band-powered cars. The engineers worked with each team and showed them how certain engineering principles could help them in their design. When tested, most teams had to modify their cars, but they all figured out how to fix their problems car problems and enjoyed the spirit of competition.
On February, 20, 2014, CTE worked with Women's Transportation Seminar - Triangle Chapter to co-sponsor a Transportation YOU event held in Raleigh, NC. Thirteen girls and six parents attended the event which featured an NCDOT engineer from the Pavement Management Division as the speaker. She discussed her educational background and described the work she does which includes office and field work. After the question and answer session, the girls made "asphalt" cookies. Chopped walnuts, flaked/shredded coconut, old fashion oats, and quick cooking oats symbolized the various aggregates used in asphalt paving and the girls gained an understanding of paving, the physical properties of asphalt, and its importance in road construction.