Society of Women Engineers Region E Blog

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Outreach Collegiate Spotlight: Drexel University and JMU

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 As introduced in last month’s Hot Topic, below are some Outreach Events held this year by two collegiate chapters in our region. Thank you all for your submissions!

Summer Series

This summer, Drexel University SWE hosted its first ever summer series in engineering. The series consisted of three workshops that focused on different fields of engineering. The first workshop taught students about robotics, how to build a LEGO robot and program it using LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Software. Additionally, a representative from the Drexel Applied Informatics Group gave a short presentation on human-robot interactions. The girls were asked to complete several programming tasks, and a final challenge activity that involved line-following.


The second workshop was on electrical engineering and circuit construction. Employees from PECO gave a panel discussion and led two demonstrations on how electricity arrives at our homes and how it is possible to light an LED using lemons! Next, Drexel SWE showed girls how to construct their own circuit on a breadboard, and measured the voltage and current using multimeters from the Drexel Electrical Engineering Labs!


The series culminated with a workshop on aerodynamics, headed by a Boeing representative. She demonstrated Bernoulli’s principle, taught about flight stability and showcased a real airplane part! Next, Drexel SWE led the girls through a paper airplane design activity and an egg drop competition, inspired by the Mars Curiosity Rover landing. Big thanks to Neha Thomas, Drexel SWE Outreach Director, for all her hard work in organizing this series!

 High School Engineering Outreach Day

JMU SWE hosted our first-of-its-kind High School Engineering Outreach this past November. They had a great time with all the girls that came out, some from as far as an hour and a half away. The event went from 9:00am check-in to 3:30pm sign-out, and was packed full of interesting activities.

The morning began with some breakfast snacks and an interesting presentation by a JMU professor and professional SWE member, about her experiences and development in engineering. The students then broke into small groups for an ice breaker and a couple of design challenges. These included creating a structure to protect an egg from a falling softball, and designing a foot-long bridge for different sized balls to pass over, one table to another. Designs were made from materials such as pipe cleaners, straws, newspaper, pencils, spoons, Popsicle sticks, and stickers. Each activity was repeated, changing up groups and materials to generate different results. Congratulations to those who managed to protect their egg and roll the balls across their bridge!

Lunch came next, with collegiate SWE members and a couple of engineering professors mixing with high school students, talking about anything from engineering to college to random interests. Engaging discussions started all around the room and continued for about an hour. They then hit several engineering labs in a row, taking a tour around the building. In the Circuits Lab students used a breadboard to make a light blink and a noise beep. The Advanced Thermofluids Lab displayed a fascinating heart simulator used in student research. The Mechanics Lab demonstrated how their machines could exert and measure force on an object, snapping several pieces of glass and bending a bar of steel for our enjoyment.

The last part of our day consisted of snacks and a student panel of engineers from each year of the university answering questions from high school students. Lots of questions were asked, and the answers were very helpful and informative. After a final word of closing, students packed up their gift bag of safety glasses, notebook and pen, and information brochures, and went home. Feedback revealed that everyone enjoyed the day and learned about engineering; several students remarked on an interest in engineering as a result of the event. Thanks to the JMU and SWE students and professors who came out to help!

 SWE’s *NEW* Outreach Tool!   

The new Outreach Assessment Tool for tracking all SWE outreach events is now live!  Please start entering data for your outreach events as they occur.  This survey is only 10 questions and should take just a few minutes to complete. Thank you!
Link to the Outreach Assessment Tool:

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