Event Recap: Design Your World – STEM Conference for Girls, March 2014


DYWlogoTo close out FY14, here is a review of our March 2014 Design Your World event, written by Dallas SWE Vice President of Outreach Dr. Nandika D’Souza!

Design Your World-STEM Conference for 6-12th grade girls at the University of North Texas Discovery Park was an outstanding success. Supported completely by volunteers, the second DYW event in FY14 continued the partnership between professional organizations and student sections to form a single leadership framework. Ninety girls from 6-8th grade and 30 girls from 9-12th grade from around the Dallas/Fort Worth area participated in the conference.

Design Your World attendees

Design Your World: STEM Conference for Girls attendees

The event started with a keynote address by Nancy Shugart, author of Prove Them Wrong, who inspired parents, volunteers and girls to never let the challenges of life affect their personal goals.  The girls were sent off by an enthusiastic group of SWE members who donned a range of working clothes to exemplify the range of careers and environments that engineers get to choose to work in. 100 volunteers supported the efforts representative of companies such as AT&T, Raytheon, Halliburton and students from UNT chapters of ASME, SHPE, NSBE, IEEE, Construction Technology, Association of Computer Machinery (Women) –ACM-W.

Photo Credit: @bianca_avila26 (Twitter)

Photo Credit: @bianca_avila26 (Twitter)

The girls then participated in their choice of 3 of 7 activities offered. The engineering and career activity choices that girls could choose from were:

  • Renewable Energy Activity (Solar Car)
  • Mechanical Engineering (Rube-Goldberg team design)
  • Electrical Engineering (Robots)
  • Computer Science (Alice Debugging)
  • Materials Science (strength to weight considerations for fuel efficient cars)
  • Construction Engineering Technology (house construction)
  • Forensic Science (technologies and tools for solving crimes)


A parallel parent and educator session was attended by 39 adults. The Parent Panel featured tools for parents and teachers to encourage their daughters and female students to consider engineering as a potential career option.  First, Dave Whitmire (Raytheon), Cherrie Fisher (AT&T), and Edna Patino (Lockheed) spoke about how their parents had inspired them to be all that they could be and shared advice they had received during times when they faced academic or personal challenges. A second panel comprised of Amber Scheurer (Texas Instruments), Neha Dobhal (Abbott Laboratories),  Jennifer Vilbig (Vilbig & Associates Engineering), and Britney Caldwell (The Brandt Companies) gave anecdotes as recent graduates about their experiences as engineers in the workplace. Parents toured the University of North Texas engineering campus and remarked that after the panel, they had a real world idea on what they needed to do to encourage their daughters.

Parent and Educator tour of UNT engineering facilities.

Parent and Educator tour of UNT engineering facilities.

The evaluations by the girls and the parents after the conference underscored the importance of the event with very positive comments and acknowledgements on the impact the experience had on their career choices.  Student attendees valued learning what engineers do, increasing their confidence in building and designing things, learning how to use the design process to solve problems, and that the event was just for girls.  According to parents, the most important goals that were met by attending the conference were  introducing their daughter to an engineer and educating themselves on what it takes to become an engineer.

Thank you to our sponsors for this Design Your World event, Capital One and Raytheon!

Below you will find links to photos and videos from the event.  Enjoy, and stay tuned to the Design Your World website for updates on future DYW events!

Models in the Design Your World Fashion Show!

Models from Dallas SWE in the Design Your World EngineerFashion Show!


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