On April 8-9, SWE-UCLA held its third annual Women in Engineering Stayover Program (WESP). WESP is an event for highschool students who were accepted to UCLA Engineering to help them make a decision to which university they should attend for the upcoming academic year, and just have fun.
To start, on Saturday late afternoon, as soon as the students and hosts checked in at Carnesale Commons on the Hill, we participated in an ice-breaker game of Bingo. It was more of a social game of Bingo, so we had to go around to find people and introduce ourselves. It was fun trying to meet everyone and also try to win a prize. At the end, no one was able to fill out all the boxes because there was no one with a tattoo. Afterwards, all the admits and their respective hosts met up to leave their luggage into their rooms and to get to know each other better. Then everyone gathered at the Northwest Auditorium to listen to UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering’s Dean Jayathi Murthy’s speech and a student panel, which consisted of Bruins pursuing different engineering majors.
It was really cool to see many admits ask both the Dean and the students questions, such as UCLA’s alumni network and their experiences as female engineers, and they all were answered thoroughly. Furthermore, in case they had more questions, the admits also were able to eat dinner with the professors and faculty of their respective majors. It was great for students who were unsure and full of questions about the major they had chosen and its pursuit. To take a break from gaining a lot of information, we went on a scavenger hunt that was also more social with actual Bruins living on the Hill. Tasks were divided into 1-, 3-, and 5-point categories; the winner with the highest amount of points won prizes. My group wanted to win but easily gave up to have a more chill night among ourselves. We still had a great time learning the famous 8-clap from a stranger and making 5 free-throws with a basketball, which a stranger had graciously lent us. Then we all went out for some dessert at Diddy Riese. The night was really chilly, and the wind was blowing furiously; however, the weather did not stop us from enjoying our free ice cream sandwiches and cookies. Next, just as any sleepover, we had late night games and activities. Some painted succulent plant pots, some just talked with each other, and others played card games. When the admits grew tired or when it was 1:00 am, their hosts went with their admits to their rooms to call it a night. On Sunday morning, bright and early at 7:30 am, we ate breakfast consisting of bagels, pastries, and fruits. WESP ended when we led the students to campus for UCLA’s Engineering Day.
CSUF SWE knows a thing or two about building launchers, it is no wonder why we chose to share our skills with local Daisy/Brownie Girl Scout Troop 4600. Using a mix of materials such as balsa wood, 2 metal rods, peg board, nails, hooks, rubber bands, paper cups and ping pong balls, our mini launchers were ready to be built. Our SWE Members began the workshop by speaking a bit about their major and explained to the troop how the work of an engineer is seen in their everyday lives no matter where or what they’re doing. We had the launchers prefabricated and left it up to the girls to work together to assemble them in a way to launch the ping pong ball. (The tools involved were not the safest for 6-7year olds to use.) As they brainstormed our SWE Members made sure to point out the importance of collaborating, questioning and trial and error. Once the girls figured out how to assemble the launchers, it was time to test them out!
The Asian Pacific American Resource Center (APARC) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), hosted a “Lunch and Learn: Women in Stem” event on Monday, March 20, 2017. Three women panelists, working in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) spoke to students at California State University, Fullerton about women representation in a male-dominated fields. Some obstacles that were addressed were that for girls, the interest of working in a STEM field diminishes, as they get older, especially after middle school. As a response to this issue, one of our panelists stated, “That’s why we do outreach efforts to try and work with girls who are interested in STEM, so they don’t lose interest.”
A popular trend, called “the bottle flip” raged through middle schools in the past year. In this challenge, students hold a water bottle by the lid, throw it so that it spins in the air, and (hopefully) lands upright on a nearby table or section of floor.
Taking this fad in stride, Cal Poly SWE created a presentation for our Feb. 23rd visit to the 4-H after school program that involved the physics of bottle-flipping and the steps of experimental. The physics concepts covered included angular momentum and center of mass. In the hands-on portion of the activity, students worked through an experiment to determine the water level and the water bottle shape that resulted in the best bottle flip. As a bonus challenge, the students tried to hit targets on the floor for points. By learning about bottle flipping, the students are now able to understand a viral trend that they will think about every time they partake.
Cal Poly SWE has been working on an outreach program called SWE-EETY, or Society of Women Engineers Expressing Engineering to Youth. On March 17th, three volunteers drove from San Luis Obispo to Atascadero Middle School. In Christina Heller’s engineering and science classroom, we worked with three class periods of 7th and 8th grade students. A brief presentation showed the students all the disciplines of engineering Cal Poly offers. One of the SWE volunteers posed a challenge question at the end of the presentation; she asked “What types of engineers contribute to Disneyland?” The students responded with the more common majors, like civil, mechanical, and software engineering. Some students picked up on some of the less known disciplines, like industrial and material engineering. After the broad introduction to engineering, the students participated in a hands-on activity to make individual thumb pianos. The thumb piano consisted of metal twangs positioned at various lengths that were sandwiched between wood rods. Both Mrs. Heller and the Cal Poly SWE volunteers believe in “learn by doing,” so the students were encouraged to use the provided instruction manual and work as a team to figure out how to fit the components together. Many of the students stayed past the bell and into their break to finish up their thumb pianos. The fresh enthusiasm and eager participation of the students makes the visits to Atascadero Middle School fun and engaging every time!
In preparation for Cal Poly SWE’s first SWENext Leadership Training Conference, we reached out to Syronna Brown, owner of StyleKemistry.
Cal Poly was first introduced to StyleKemistry at the SWE Regional conference when Ms. Brown presented a workshop on StyleKemistry, an online resource for the “savvy, stylish girl” who is “confident, knows her unique qualities, and understands beauty inside and out.”
Following this presentation and the message of confidence and of a female support network, Cal Poly SWE believed that the SWENexters would be empowered by this company.
Cal Poly SWE called Syronna Brown and has arranged for her to come and present a workshop at the SWENext Leadership Training Conference. We are excited to have StyleKemistry represented and to have the opportunity to extend the message of developing a personal brand and taking risks to SWENexters.
Cal Poly SWE is hosting its first SWENext Leadership Training Conference to give SWENexters the tools necessary to run a successful SWENext club. This Conference will feature a keynote speaker from a professional SWE chapter, a series of workshops including a Certified Techbridge Training, a StyleKemistry presentation, and activities concerning how to run a successful meeting. We will include a panel consisting of active SWE members, Cal Poly SWE officers, and Cal Poly SWE committee members from varied years and majors. The conference will be concluded by remarks from our Cal Poly SWE president.
The committee consists of three Cal Poly SWE members, each responsible for a different element of the conference. One committee member is responsible for the panel. Her responsibilities include arranging topics for conversation, leading the Q&A, and inviting Cal Poly SWE members to be the panelists. The second committee member is responsible for arranging the successful meeting and officer position activities. The third committee member is responsible for advertising and outreach to local high schools and other SWENexters. In distributing these responsibilities, Cal Poly SWE ensures a thorough planning process and involves members immensely by giving them opportunities to plan the outreach event.