Side note, children are hilarious!
Last year (and the year before), the Introduce a Girl to Engineering Workshop (or IGEW) event was held virtually due to the pandemic. This year, however, the event was back in person, and we had over 200 students sign up!
While the in-person event is much more chaotic than the virtual event, it was still super fun. This is my third year on the IGEW committee, and I’ve enjoyed the past IGEWs. The event takes about a year of planning, usually starting with choosing a date and designing the modules. Closer to the event, the logistics are worked out, including asking volunteers to help with the event, gathering supplies for the modules, ordering food, and asking other campus organizations for their help. This year we had the Emergency Response Team (ERT) help out.
This year, I adapted last year’s airplane module into the airplane launching module. I focused on the fundamentals of flight again this year, but the students were all allowed to design their own paper airplanes. Then we added a paperclip to the nose of the airplane and used two pencils connected with a rubber band as a slingshot to launch the paper airplanes. After everyone had practiced launching their airplanes, everyone went into the hallway and we had an airplane launching contest.
The night before the event was module prep night. Every group of volunteers put the supplies for their room in their assigned room along with nonperishable snacks. After the volunteers were done with their rooms, they moved supplies to the union event center. It was mainly a lot of T-shirts.
And then, bright and early the next morning, IGEW happened.
I arrived at the student union around 6:30 AM to start helping out with check-in. It didn’t officially begin until 7:30, but we were starting to set everything up and prepare for the families to show up. The participating children were always accompanied by a volunteer, and to get them into their groups, we ended up walking them from the check-in table to their specific group’s table in the event center.
After that, there was a quick welcome before we broke out into groups. Groups 1-5 were on the first floor while Groups 6-10 were on the second floor. Each floor had all five modules (Airplane Launcher, Binary Beads, Biodomes, Marble Roller Coaster, and Paper Making) but it was an easy way to divide up the participants. Each room also had three volunteers per room who would give the module presentation and assist the participants in doing the modules.
Lunch was also free, and it was served after the third module. Everyone ate pizza, and my group ended up watching the Bill Nye video about flight and aerodynamics while they ate. After that, everyone rotated rooms again and finished off the day by completing two more modules.
At the end of the event, everyone then went back to the student union where we took a photo standing on the Embry-Riddle seal. Several people had started to arrive for pick-up, and all of the participants went to the event center. To ensure a safe pick-up, family members were required to provide an ID while an IGEW committee member went to retrieve their participant. The participants were then given a certificate of completion, a bag, and information about SWE and this year’s IGEW committee.
The work didn’t end there. Even though everyone was picked up, we had to clean the areas we’d used and transport everything back to the storage locker. It was a long day, so everyone cleaned quickly and loaded things into cars. As part of the IGEW committee, I helped stuff the storage unit with all of the IGEW materials. Just like that, IGEW was over.
I’m grateful that I was elected to the committee for a third year, and I’ll definitely be seeking reelection for my senior year. I could tell how happy the event made the participants, and it’s nice to encourage the next generation of engineering leaders. Who knows- maybe they’ll even become students here! I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!