Daytona Beach, FL - Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) will soon host hundreds of Volusia County elementary students at its upcoming Introduce a Girl to Engineering workshop.
From 8 AM to 2:30 PM on Saturday, March 24, over 300 third, fourth, and fifth graders from 12 Volusia elementary schools will attend the workshop organized by ERAU’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). There, students will learn more about engineering design processes, aerodynamics, thermodynamics, and civil and chemical engineering through experiments and teamwork. These experiments and activities include making slime that changes color as the temperature changes; creating a device that protects an egg from a two-story drop; creating non-Newtonian liquids, or liquids that act like solids; and building a boat demonstrating knowledge of buoyancy and weight distribution.
“We want to focus on giving these girls a great foundation in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)” said Natalie Hahn, ERAU aerospace engineering sophomore and president of the ERAU SWE chapter. “We want to encourage girls from an early age to consider engineering and tech careers. Research shows that if elementary students, especially females, are encouraged in math or science early on, the likelihood they will go into those fields down the road is much higher.”
Hahn, who has interned with Rockwell Collins and The Boeing Company, hopes to land a dream job creating U.S. military fighter jets. Hahn believes diversity is essential in STEM fields. “When females or other groups are underrepresented, their ideas aren’t heard,” said Hahn. She also said that Gulfstream Aerospace, Rockwell Collins, and Embry-Riddle’s Dean of Students Office are sponsoring the event.
“There is certainly a lack of information among girls about what engineers do and their importance in society,” said Dr. Claudia Patricia Moreno, assistant professor with ERAU’s Department of Aerospace Engineering and ERAU’s SWE chapter faculty advisor. “My hope for this workshop is to help eliminate the misconceptions about the field of engineering and encourage parents to expose their girls to more STEM fun activities.”
This workshop is considered to be the SWE chapter’s biggest outreach event of the year and is coordinated by almost 50 of its members. The SWE chapter at the Daytona Beach Campus is made up of around 260 members. The organization seeks to provide female students with professional and career development opportunities and other STEM-oriented opportunities. It is estimated that over 200,000 girls attend SWE events across the nation, every year.
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