Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Society of Women Engineers mentor Roosevelt Middle School students

Can you build an eight-foot-high structure out of gumdrops and toothpicks that can hold the weight of an extra large candy bar? The girls from Roosevelt International Baccalaureate Middle School were tasked with this as part of the Women In Engineering Day at San Diego High School. The girls were mentored in the task by a female high school student from the GeoTech Academy, a California Partnership Academy, at the School of Science and Technology at San Diego High. The event was organized and supported by the Society of Women Engineers.
Gumdrop Bar
Girls heard from a panel of engineers from various disciplines before embarking on their hands-on activities. The first focused on having steady hands while assembly a circuit to light an LED light. The second was the gum drop tower. A twist was added to the task during construction – no members of the team could talk while assembling their tower. The girls then toured the Solar Turbines facility in Kearny Mesa to learn about gas turbines.

Most of the Roosevelt girls have already been participating in STEM related clubs at Roosevelt – Girls in Science Club and TreoBytes. The Girls in Science Club is a collaboration between the San Diego Zoo and Roosevelt. Each week, students learn about a myriad of animal related topics including habitat loss, conservation, animal behaviors and captive breeding. In addition to behind the scenes views of the animals and their keepers, they get to meet a variety of women working at the zoo and hear about their career paths and how qualities such as compassion, tenacity and hard work helped them to land their dream jobs.

TreoBytes makes technology accessible to kids and provides a learning environment outside of the traditional school where kids can become more comfortable with technology, develop their own game concepts in a team environment and learn the basics of programming, social media and design. Roosevelt students are working to create, develop and launch a crowdsourcing campaign for Good Neighbor Garden, a community partner. Students are learning project management skills, critical thinking, collaboration and business development.

The Society of Women Engineers is a not-for-profit educational and service organization that empowers women to succeed and advance in the field of engineering. Founded in 1950, the society is the driving force that establishes engineering as a highly desirable career for women.