April 2016 Event Recap


We realize this recap post is quite delayed, but we think it’s better late than never!! Stay tuned for information on our fall event, coming soon!

We want to share with you a summary of a phenomenally successful return to Discovery Part at the University of North Texas for the Design Your World-STEM Conference for Girls held on April 2, 2016.  By the numbers: 150 6th-12th graders, 40 parent educators and 101 volunteers were among those who filled Discovery Park with squeals, giggles and much laughter. Many thanks for the sincerity, leadership and work ethic that UNT SWE students from all engineering departments (and beyond)!

Here’s a video prepared by Haley Barnes, the UNT SWE Vice President, creator of UNT Compliments and National SWE Future Leader learning leadership from a selected group of nationally advised SWE collegiates.

See more photos at our Facebook album here!


We had many returning students, parents and volunteers. This speaks to the deeply engaging structure of the event. As most of you know, Design Your World is the signature outreach program of Dallas Society of Women Engineers, winning multiple national awards for both the student and parent/educator programs. This April the Society of Women Engineers supported of the event through a Professional Development Grant. We also continued prior support from local corporate partners: Exxon Mobil (Platinum), State Farm, Lennox International and Abbott (Gold) and Rockwell Collins (Silver). We thank them for their support in increasing diversity and excitement for technology and engineering careers.

For the 150 students we had 6 groups of 25 each working on principles of design for 1.5 hour length activities

  • Groups 1, 2 and 3 experienced Robotics, Programming and Future City Designs. The robotics activity was designed by Robocamp, a program run by the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) department at UNT and led by Amber Sodikov, Engineering Technology, a UNT SWE leader. Programming was developed by Mayaria Johnson, a UNT-CSE alum and employee at Pepsico with volunteers from State Farm working with the students. Future City Designs was led by UNT Association of Construction Engineering Technology President Bobbie Daniels who had a wonderful warm and supportive group of UNT collegiates working with attendees.
  • Groups 4, 5 and 6 experienced activities in Electronic Art, Energy Device Designs and Biomedical Engineering. Electronic Art was led by Tram Trinh, the Dallas SWE social media coordinator and electrical engineer. She modified the activity designed in our 2013 SMU event by Kim Knight, UTD to enable students to design a flashing LED headband in an hour and a half. Biomedical Engineering was led by the women engineers at Abbott who developed the activity. Nicole Teague and Neha Dobhal engaged students in a very engaging activity. We were energized by the amazing engineers from Lennox. New to Design Your World and embracing diversity with our professional members and with students, Lennox has quite simply made Dallas SWE awed by the example of their extensive effort to embrace diversity in true engagement. They worked with students from UNT- Lindsey Smith of Mechanical and Energy Engineering and Tyseanah Spell of Computer Engineering. Tyseanah is a leader of NAACP and NSBE together with SWE and worked hard to make this new activity that related to an everyday conversation of students- listening to parents tell them about thermostat settings and the cost of energy. The heating and air conditioning segment was related to the body as a system and fundamentals of energy management were easy to relate to.
  • The Parent/Educator portion of the Spring 2016 Design Your World event incorporated numerous engineering professionals from the DFW area sharing tips and stories about inspiring and preparing students to become engineers. The event was chaired by Amber Scheurer, Texas Instruments.  The opening speaker, Dr. Tandra Tyler-Wood, UNT discussed her research on STEM education and some of the best practices for ensuring girls’ success in school. Then Jack Grimmett (Texas Instruments), Susanna Biancheri (AT&T), and Amy Brunson (Raytheon) all shared personal anecdotes about guiding their daughters towards STEM careers. They offered great advice for families and answered questions from the parents in attendance. Next, the attendees were given a tour of the UNT Engineering college, followed by a presentation from Dr. Nandika D’Souza about the UNT engineering program and general college admissions process. The parents also received an informative presentation about financial planning and the cost of attending college from Richard Mullin, Admissions Representative for GMU. The final panel of the day featured early-career female engineers Corrinne Gagnet (Texas Instruments), Jennifer Vilbig (Vilbig Associates), Ashley Dunn (Aerospace Engineer), and Sarah Green (Dr. Pepper Snapple Group). They each shared their unique path, support network, and career decisions that lead them to their very diverse industries and roles.  The event proved extremely helpful for those in attendance and helped facilitate new connections between parents, educators, and professionals in the area. The program ended by a visit from the 2016 Dallas Regional Finalists advancing to the World Championship in St. Louis Missouri- Eagle Robotics.  The team from Allen High School are members of the opening year of SWE Next and exemplified to all the value of educator-parent-student early engagement with professional SWE.

If there is an inspiring thought it is this: Nearly all the volunteers in Design Your World spend their days in 60 hour work weeks because we are all engaged in challenging and growth-oriented careers. In an all volunteer process, this event continued the tradition of people taking that time to serve. If there is a way for us to exemplify the goals of SWE: Aspire, Advance and Achieve it is to experience Design Your World as an attendee, a volunteer or a parent educator. Dallas SWE supports all DFW universities in their effort at recruitment through organizing a Design Your World Conference at their school. To ensure professional development of its members in tandem with increasing demographics of women engineers, the organization runs two all day events each year and monthly leadership events. This event will be featured in the fall issue of SWE Magazine. Of course this month we have two UNT students featured in the magazine: Jessica Rimsza (graduate student) and Haley Barnes (SWE future leader). Both reflect the principles of the Diversity and Excellence in Engineering Initiative of CENG-UNT: uncompromising dual metrics of excellence and diversity.

Sammy Zellner, UNT SWE student co-chair of Design Your World, April 2, 2016

Nandika D’Souza, UNT Faculty advisor, Dallas SWE VP for Outreach and co-chair of Design Your World, April 2, 2016

Kitty Elshot, Coordinator for registration of volunteers, attendees, web manager and communications of Design Your World, April 2, 2016


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