FemineerⓇ Program’s 1st Annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day
Not even a rainy Saturday morning could keep 60* local San Diego 4th-8th graders and their parents from attending San Diego State University’s College of Engineering FemineerⓇ Program’s 1st Annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day on February 22, 2020. (*A unique feature to the event was that 29 MESA School Program students, who were attending their MESA Day Regional competition also on the SDSU campus, wanted to participate in the Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. The FemineerⓇ team was able to collaborate and partner with the MESA Schools Program team to accommodate the students’ requests to attend both events).
The SDSU FemineerⓇ team was intentional on including this event as part of the National Engineers Week (E-Week). Attendees arrived early and their excitement for the day could be felt by the staff and engineering Student Leaders. To kick off the event, the Girls Have No Limits video was shown and Michelle Bunn, Director of SDSU’s Women in Engineering and College of Engineering FemineerⓇ Program, led a brief discussion of the attendees’ impression of the video and the message conveyed by Ewy Rosqvist. The students and their parents faces lit up when Ewy mentioned she overcame people’s doubt of her abilities and won the Grand Prix by 3 hours.
The students and parents were placed into groups to attend their specific workshops for the day. Students were broken up into 3 groups to rotate through: 1) designing and building their own pinewood derby car, 2) creating and testing their own VEX IQ car with a safety device to keep their (uncooked) egg safe during a collision test, and 3) designing and engineering a car track to commemorate Ewy Rosqvist’s Grand Prix win. During the 3 rotations, the students had the opportunity to interact with the College of Engineering Student Leaders who led the activities. A diverse representation of engineering students participated to emphasize that both male and female students can be supportive advocates for Engineering. This gave the students the opportunity to learn more about the various engineering programs and student organizations at SDSU, but more importantly have the opportunity to see and talk with engineering role models.
One of the most notable aspects of the event was the sheer excitement the young students exuded as they went through the rotations. The Student Leaders expressed how the students would rush them over to their project as they overcame obstacles, excited to show their accomplishments. In between projects, parents would peek into the activity room to take photos of their children and were met with very focused students who did not want any distractions from sanding or constructing their projects. The genuine passion and excitement that radiated from each of the young students was truly contagious and inspiring. Throughout the event, students would say “We need more time!” or ask for 5 or 10 more minutes. Even after the event ended, students and parents stayed behind wanting additional time to do activities and talk further about other STEM opportunities available.
In order to strengthen students’ success in pursuing STEM majors and careers, studies have shown that involving parents as additional support to students have proven positive results (Svoboda, Rozek, Hyde, Harackiewicz, Destin, 2016). While the students participated in the hands-on activities, parents had a discussion about being more mindful of the unconscious bias and how that can affect the interest of their children in STEM. Recommendations were provided on how to support their children regardless if they possess a STEM background or not, and also included information for finding more extracurricular STEM opportunities for their children to participate in throughout the year.
In addition to learning more about the FemineerⓇ Program, parents learned about the VEX IQ Girl Powered workshops, San Diego Festival of Science Engineering, San Diego STEM Ecosystem, San Diego Fleet Science Center’s BeWISE (Better Education for Women in Science & Engineering) program, SDG&E Be That Girl initiative, Reinvented Magazine, Barnes & Noble’s Story Design, The Connectory (online STEM directory), FabFems (STEM Role Model directory), Mission Unstoppable television series, to name a few.
If you’re interested in supporting the SDSU Femineer Program, please visit: http://campaign.sdsu.edu/femineerprogram
About the Femineer® Program:
The Femineer® Program was originally created and funded by Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Engineering in 2013 to inspire additional females to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) in their education and career. SDSU’s College of Engineering adopted the Femineer® Program in Fall 2016. The program provides K-12 students with project-based learning, female engineering student mentors, and opportunities to visit a Femineer® affiliate university, while building a sustainable program and community for current and future STEM leaders. For more information on the Femineer Program, please visit https://www.engineering.sdsu.edu/explore/femineer_program or contact the SDSU College of Engineering Femineer Program Director, Michelle Bunn, at [email protected] The Femineer® Program is open to schools for all students in grades K-12. San Diego State University prohibits discrimination in employment, educational programs, and activities on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, associational preferences, or any other classification that deprives the person of consideration as an individual. The University also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to University facilities. For additional information, contact the Division of Diversity and Innovation at 619-594-0523 or [email protected]