Our Design Your World STEM Conference for Girls held on November 12, 2016 at Eastfield College was a phenomenal success!. By the numbers, 150 4th-5th graders, 49 parents and educators, and 158 volunteers helped make it an exciting day to learn about what it means to be an engineer. THANK YOU to all of our generous corporage sponsors: Exxon Mobil, Abbott, Lennox International, USAA, Schneider Electric, Rockwell Collins, State Farm, and Bentley! We would also like to acknowledge the tireless efforts of our event coordinators: Samica Norman (Dallas SWE VP of Outreach), Barbara Vilbig (fall chair), Lynn Mortensen (Volunteer Coordinator), Becky Byford (Registration Chair), Shelley Stracener (marketing and media), Ashley Skubitz (opening/closing ceremony), Monika Allen and Amber Scheurer (parent/educator forum), Emily Hall (student activities), Terriekka Cardenas (logistics), Liz Hainey (fundraising/finance), Nadine Jones (t-shirt and food order), Estrella Perez (student lead) and Peggy Shadduck (Director, DCCCD STEM Institute).
Academia Partner Recognition
This year we would especially like to highlight our exciting academia partnership organizations! We are so grateful to have had numerous volunteers from each of these institutions:
- Collin College SWE
- UT Dallas SWE
- UT Arlington SWE
- Eastfield College
- Dallas County Community College District STEM Institute
- Brookhaven College
- Eastfield College Allied Health Society
- Richland College
- El Centro College
- UNT Rocket Team
- UNT SWE
Special thanks also to our opening and closing session guest speakers Alicia Morgan, Estrella Rodriguez Perez, Ashley Crowe, and our partners at Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas.
Photos and Video
We had a great variety of student activities to choose from this year! Each student experienced three of the below activities during their day:
- Biomedical Hand, sponsored by Abbott: Students made their own working prosthetic hand from craft materials.
- Arduino Board Programming, sponsored by Lennox: Using a circuit breadboard and programming tools, students learned about temperature sensors and software.
- Patents and Trademarks, sponsored by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO): Inventions are novel ideas that should be protected and documented! Students worked in groups to invent new devices or processes, then pitched their ideas to the group.
- Pop Fly Challenge, sponsored by Eastfield Allied Health: Students learned about physics and designed catapults to launch a ping-pong ball at a target.
- Emergency Shelter Design, sponsored by State Farm: Students learned how to be resourceful in a crisis and create dwellings using everyday household items.
- Seismic Shake-Up, sponsored by UTD SWE: Building a structure that will survive an earthquake is a difficult task. Students created and tested their designs to learn iterative development skills.
- NASA Rockets, sponsored by UNT Senior Design: Students designed rockets powered by balloons and watched them fly up to the ceiling!
- Computer Programming, sponsored by AT&T: The MIT-designed Alice Programming tool helped students learn how to structure computer programming projects and how their code can change a 3D animated video project.
- Gravity Cars, sponsored by DCCCD and USAA: Students made their own wooden cars and experimented with how shape, weight, and wheels affected vehicle performance down a track.
Parent & Educator Sessions
The parent and educator session kicked off with a panel of students pursuing STEM courses entitled “My Path”. Eighth-graders Jacqueline Serratos Cardoso and Ana Valdez Quintas talked about excelling in robotics with encouragement from their teacher, and Brookhaven College student Estrella Rodriguez Perez shared her journey of moving to the US and learning English to continue pursuing a STEM education.
After lunch, the parents and teachers joined their students in a hands on activity. Then in the afternoon they attended a resource panel “How to help girls stay in STEM”. This discussion encompassed a wide range of topics including activities and tools for parents at home, the types of classes girls should take, and other community resources available. This panel consisted of Adlena Jacobs (Mesquite ISD HS Teacher), one of her students Michelle Morris, Michele Newman (Mesquite ISD Robotics Teacher), Ashley Crowe (VP of Girl Experience with Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas), Dr. Peggy Shaddock (Director, DCCCD STEM Institute), and John Harkins (retired engineer and STEM advocate).
Ultimately the parents took away numerous handouts with resources, inspiring stories from girls in the midst of their STEM journey, and great advice from peers and educators empowering them with lots of ideas for encouraging their girls.
Engineering Fashion Show
Our event-closing Engineering Fashion Show has become a favorite tradition of Design Your World conferences. Thanks to our participants: Amanda Posadas (business casual), Erin Duffy (construction), Amber Hale (lab coat), Amber Scheurer (clean room suit), Lam Hong (lab coat and safety glasses), and Kim Smith (professional clothes)!
Below are some quotes from attendees on our event evaluation forms.
Q: What did you like most?
Outstanding value, love that it was just for girls.
Seeing all the different opportunities and being able to have my 4th grader exposed to all this at an early age.
You have given my girls motivation to do something amazing. One of my girls said, “I feel like a real engineer.”
We had fund designing and learning to make cars and we spent a girls day out.
Q: Would you tell other kids to participate in events like this?
Yes, it tells girls their just as capable as men.
Because it’s a confidence builder.
Yes because girls can change the world.
Great event. The participants were from a diverse set of backgrounds.
Love this event can’t wait to come back next year.
This is why we continue to put on this event twice a year since 2012! Our next Design Your World STEM Conference will be April 1, 2017 at SMU! Stay tuned for more details on that event after the first of the year.