Event Recap: Design Your World STEM Conference For Girls!

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Dallas SWE’s 14th Design Your World STEM Conference for Girls was held on November 10, 2018 at Southern Methodist University! Tickets for the event sold out with the attendance of 120 middle school aged girls, in grades 6th-8th, spending the day learning about multiple industries where a STEM career can lead them.

This day would not have been possible without the multiple volunteers, parents, and educators that took time out of their day to be a part of this inspirational event.  Additionally, a special THANK YOU to our generous corporate sponsors: ExxonMobil (Platinum) and Lennox (Gold).   Finally, we would also like to acknowledge the resolute efforts of our event coordinators: Terriekka Cardenas (Dallas SWE VP of Outreach and DYW Event Chair), Amanda Alsbrook (Registration Chair), Shannon Cruise (Student Activities Chair), Teri Cate (logistics), Sandy Rolon (opening/closing ceremony), Thi Dao (Volunteer Coordinator), Kim Concillado (marketing and media), Rana Karimi (T-shirts), Zaineb Ahmad (Parent/Educator Track coordinator), Katia Gomez (planning committee), and Liz Hainey (fundraising/finance and food order).


Photos

You can find all of our event photos on our Facebook page album for this event! Below are a few of the highlights.


Opening Session

Sandy Rolon jump started the DYW event with an inspirational speech about working hard towards your goals and pursuing your career, whatever those may be! Subsequently, she held an ice breaker with all of the participants to get them excited about the day ahead of them.


Student Activities

We had a wonderful variety of activities for the students to choose from this year! The students broke into six groups, which rotated through three of the activities listed below during their day:

  • Biomedical Engineering – Sponsored by Accenture

Students simulated a blocked artery using clay and learned about the different technologies utilized in the medical industry to clear them.

  • Computer Science – Sponsored by Codestream Studios

Students were able to participate in app/web development by making their own webpage.  They also learned about the most influential women in computer science.

  • Electrical Engineering – Sponsored by Girls in STEM

Students designed and built their own circuits while learning about the basics of electrical engineering.  They were also given the opportunity to build small scale bridges and understand best practices for strengthening the structure.

  • Telecommunications – Sponsored by Fujitsu

Students learned how to send messages through Morse code and were able to decipher messages created by the instructors.

  • Mechanical/HVAC Engineering – Sponsored by Lennox

Students learned about the basics of HVAC by comparing the various components to the human body.  After a short presentation, they built the circuit for a thermometer using an Arduino.

  • Renewable Energy – Halliburton

Students learned about the principles of renewable energy and built salt water powered vehicles.


Parent & Educator Sessions

During the Design Your World STEM conference, three Parent-Educator panels were held: a young engineers session (Voices from the Field – What’s Really Out there?), an engineering collegiate session (What’s Next? Collegiates Share Their Paths), and an engineering campus tour, hosted by SMU engineering students. Each panel had content aimed for parents and educators to aid in their students’ STEM education and motivation.

The first panel allowed panelists to share their collegiate and early career experiences, as well as overcoming difficulties, surprising things, and any advice for the STEM students. The goal was to answer any questions that the parents had about their STEM students’ education and future career. Many of the panelists discussed their careers from their points of view as well as their support systems, hardships, and perseverance. The parents asked several questions about how the panelists handled the difficulties that came their way, how they motivated themselves, and what drove them to choose their fields.

The second panel consisted of collegiate SWE members in various engineering majors.  The objective of the panel was similar to first session, but the panelists spoke to their support system and schooling that got them to this point in their college career.  They also provided advice on college admissions, financing their educations, and finding internships.

The last session of the day gave parents and educators a view into engineering campus life, with a tour of the engineering school by current engineering students. The students were able to showcase their lives on campus, while providing the attendees more opportunities to ask questions and discuss their students’ futures.

The parents and educators that attended were very open and communicative about the needs of the STEM students and appreciated the panelists and the content that was focused on. They happily asked questions and participated in each of the panels.


Closing and Engineering Fashion Show

Sandy Rolon took the stage again to recognize participants that were the most involved with the activities during the day.  These students were brought up to the stage and rewarded a Bitsbox, which is a subscription box that teaches kids how to code!

To close the event in true Design Your World fashion, the volunteers and SWE members strutted their stuff on the catwalk, wearing apparel that is typical of their STEM job.  We had field engineers, design engineers, and even a nuclear physicist show off what they wear day-to-day on the job.


Impact Highlights

Here are a few highlights from our student evaluations:I enjoyed the HTML/CSS part.  I like coding, so it was fun to do some.

I liked how the volunteers made building and learning things fun.  I loved the salt water cells.

I liked all the events because I learned new things.

It was great.  I learned things that I did not know.  I want to come back!

I liked learning about Morse code and learning about STEM.  It helped me realize that we need more women in that field.

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