Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Society of Women Engineers Day 2015

Nearly 60 fourth and fifth grade Girl Scouts spent Saturday, November 21 exploring the world of engineering during an annual workshop hosted by the Hampton Roads Section of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Locally, SWE has worked with Girl Scouts for more than 25 years to give girls the opportunity to learn new skills, develop self-confidence and explore their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) interests in a supportive environment.

At the workshop, girls were guided by women engineers, as well as engineering students from Old Dominion University and Hampton University, through a series of engineering challenges to help develop their problem solving and critical thinking skills. Girls programmed LEGO Mindstorm robots to follow specific paths and built their own water filtration systems after learning about water runoff. They also took part in a construction challenge to build a tower using spaghetti noodles and a marshmallow, and they learned about electrical circuits by connecting a row of lights to a battery to make them illuminate.

In addition to giving girls the chance to learn and discover in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, SWE Day is an opportunity for girls to interact with women engineers. Today, only one-fifth of American scientists and engineers are women, and Girl Scouts are working to fill the gap by giving girls access to strong female role models in the STEM fields who will inspire girls to envision themselves in similar careers.

“Sometimes, girls don’t realize that they have the opportunity to be a scientist or an engineer,” Jean Mann, a SWE member and lifetime member of Girl Scouts, said. “Until you show them that they can do it and introduce them to women in the STEM fields, they might not know that it’s possible.”

The next STEM event for girls, STEMagination Expo, will take place on Sunday, January 24 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at A Place for Girls, the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast regional program center, in Chesapeake. This event is open to all girls, whether or not they are currently registered members of Girl Scouts. Find more information and register at www.gsccc.org.