Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Go ENG Girl

This past weekend I had a chance to share my passion for engineering when Go ENG Girl took place at Carleton University on Saturday October 16th. Go ENG Girl is hosted every year at universities across Ontario as an opportunity for girls in Grades 7-10 to learn more about the field of engineering.
The day started off with a welcome and keynote speakers. Students and their parents heard from women studying and practicing engineering and learned more about what it meant to be an engineer. The girls were introduced to the many types of engineering and the opportunities that could arise within the different fields.

While parents heard from a panel of speakers about such things as entrance requirements, academic support, campus life, and career expectations, the students headed off to participate in a hands-on activity.

The grade 7-8 students were given a small design project involving snap circuits. They were asked to create a morse code generator and were then given the freedom to create their own circuits. One group created a lie detector test in which the ‘liar’ would answer a question and then would be required to place their index finger and thumb at a given location on the circuit, which would then detect if they were in fact telling the truth. The detector would hum if they were telling the truth and would make a loud high pitched sound and flash a light if a lie was being told. The circuit detected a ‘lie’ if there was enough moisture on the finger or thumb from nerves and sweat. I have included a picture of this particular circuit. The grade 9-10 students had a chance to use their design solution skills as they were asked to create a catapult which would launch a small mass the greatest distance while having a cost effective design with minimal materials. The projects were presented to the parents and it was clear that there were some future engineers among us!

Students and their parents were given a pizza lunch while being able to browse engineering exhibits and speak with current students. Lunch was followed by an engineering lab tour where some of Carleton’s engineering and research and project labs could be seen.

Go ENG Girl was measured a success when the girls whose parents had ‘forced them to come’ had declared that they would be returning next year and had become interested and excited about engineering. It was very rewarding to volunteer at an event where I could help answer student’s questions and be a representative for my field of study.

I strongly encourage prospective students to seek out opportunities to learn more about their educational interests – it is never too early to start! I also encourage current students to find ways in which to become involved in sharing their experiences and passions – it is never too late to start!