Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014 - Retrospective and Resolution

A brand new year is upon us! I thought it would only be fitting to write a retrospective post on how my CU-WISE experience has gone in 2013. [Yes, I’m the kind of person who does retrospectives, looks back on events, tracks opportunities for improvements and celebrates achievements!]. So, ladies and gentlemen fasten your seat belts, we are about to time travel!!! 

It all started in September 2013! I was new at Carleton and looking for some extra curricular activities. I've always been interested in encouraging girls in engineering and couldn't resist when I discovered that CU-WISE was looking for volunteers for the Throwback Kids Activities. I met wonderful ladies who volunteered as well and the experience was quite memorable. It’s outstanding how little kids can remind you all you love about what you do, and re-sparkle your interest. I was in charge of the Snap Circuits activity [By the way, I still can’t believe that Santa never got me one of those electronic snap circuits!] which is a great and fun way to learn about electronics and get a working project (From adjustable light control to FM Radio).

Testing her flying saucer, Snap Circuits at the Throwback Kids Activities
Go Eng Girl took place shortly after. We had girls in grades 7 to 10 come to learn more about engineering. This event included hands-on design projects.This time, I was leading the Scratch team. Scratch is a tool developed by MIT that uses simple blocks and offers an easy way to learn programming. For this activity, we asked students to implement their own interactive story/game. Again, young minds amazed us with creative ideas and projects.

The girl who amazed us all, SCRATCH at Go ENG Girl 2013

Finally, the Woman in Research Event was held in mid December. The event invites High School girls to hear from Carleton leading female researchers about what inspired them to go into science and engineering. It’s always awesome to volunteer for this kind of event as you might be inspired along the way. And that’s what happened to me! Every speaker made me realize that we are not fully aware of our capabilities and we have to keep going [Keep in mind that doing it right doesn't always feel like it] :

Keynote Speakers, Women In Research Event 2013

  • “Engineering is for everyone!” Dr Cynthia Cruickshank
  • “Education is important and it’s an investment in you!” Natalie Linklater
  • “I didn’t know that I had that capability! You have to tell yourself that you can do it.” Dr Winnie Ye

The point : All the presenters turned out to be just as human as you and me! They all faced struggles, doubts and setbacks but kept going and achieved the amazing results that you can read on each biography!

Along the way, I became more than a volunteer and joined the WISE team. 
So, if you are looking for a resolution for 2014, volunteering for WISE might be a great one! Imagine the university becoming a place where you can inspire, be inspired and leave a legacy… How awesome would it be? 

Happy New Year!

Stay great,

Daniella is a Master's student in Electrical and Computer Engineering. One of her dreams is to inspire more women to embrace STEM careers and unleash their full potential. Although she is hardworking and can be very serious, she enjoys comedy and dancing, has a big sense of humour, and believes that a little kindness goes a long way!