2017 Events

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Spring 2017 – SMU

Our Design Your World STEM Conference for Girls held on April 1, 2017 at Southern Methodist University was a phenomenal success!. By the numbers, 137 6th-8th graders, 37 parents and educators, and 85 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 and DYW Event Chair), Lynn Mortensen (Volunteer Coordinator), Daphne Hornbuckle and Becky Byford (Registration Chairs), Shelley Stracener (marketing and media), Abi Badiru (opening/closing ceremony), Amber Scheurer (parent/educator forum), Grace Harrell (student activities), Haley Hannenberg (student lead and logistics), and Liz Hainey (fundraising/finance and food order).

Photos and Video

You can find all of our event photos on our Facebook page album for this event! Check out the recap video below to get an idea of what the day was like.

Opening Session

Sukai Durosimi, Superintendent of East Fort Worth Montessori Academy Schools, started the day by speaking about the role educators/parents play in sparking interest in STEM topics for young girls. Students also met each other and women engineer volunteers while playing a BINGO ice breaker game.

Student Activities

We had a great variety of student activities to choose from this year! Each student experienced three of the below activities during their day:

  • Invention Challenge – United States Patent & Trademark Office
    Students learned about intellectual property, then came up with an invention and brand logo (trademark) and pitched their ideas to the group.
  • Recycle Runway – Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas
    Girls used “unconventional materials” like bubble wrap, fishing line, egg cartons, and duct tape to engineer a new textile, then create a piece of functional art.
  • Drone Technology – OnPoynt Aerial Solutions
    Students assembled an actual quad-copter piece-by-piece and learned about each component of the drone! Unfortunately we were too close to the airport to allow test flights, but hopefully this introduction to drone technology will inspire future at-home activities.
  • Solar Robot – Schneider Electric
    Girls assembled cars from kit parts that were powered by solar panels, then tested their designs outside.
  • Video Game Computer Programming – Microsoft Store
    Students used Microsoft tools to create their own computer game!
  • Alice Programming – Women of AT&T
    A DYW favorite, Alice Programming let students create their own 3D animated world using computer programming concepts.
  • Design A Mechanical Hand – Abbott Laboratories
    Students learned how to make prototype drawings, then used cardboard, sting, and drinking straws to create a mechanical hand like the prostheses engineers design for amputee patients.
  • Gravity Cars – State Farm
    Girls made and decorated a car from wood blocks, dowels, wheels, and other household items, then tested their designs powered by gravity down elevated tracks.

 

Parent & Educator Sessions

After the opening speaker, the parents and educators were met by Amber Scherer of Texas Instruments, who served as the session coordinator and moderator of the day’s panels. During the day, the attendees heard from several female engineers and educators, many of whom are also parents, to inspire and share ideas for encouraging young girls to choose STEM careers.

The first panel helped outline  examples of the many paths to a STEM career. Panelists Zaineb Ahmad (MedHost), Taylor Boswell (Teague Nall and Perkins, Inc.), Kim Concillado (NPI), and Kimberley Reid (Hitachi Consulting) all shared personal stories about their journey and the people that helped them along the way. Discussions included how high school class choices influenced their future career choices, how AP classes shaped their academic experience, and whether it’s worth it to spend money on week-long engineering camps. Parents expressed concern about how engineering might affect their students’ ability to participate in other hobbies, but the panelists assured them that they were able to enjoy extracurriculars like sports and sororities during their college experience.

After lunch, the session continued with more targeted discussion on how to prepare in High School for STEM careers. This session discussed many of the challenges parents face when trying to teach, coach, and encourage their girls to be confident and excel in school. In addition, panelists  Susanna Biancheri (AT&T), Rebekah Nap (Hitachi Consulting), and Adlena Jacobs (Mesquite ISD Engineering Design Educator) shared their thoughts on balancing extracurricular activities and hobbies with work or school.

The final session of the day consisted of Amy Glenn (Associate Director of Engineering Admissions, Purdue), and Kimberley Reid (Hitachi Consulting). Amy shared her perspective from within the “Office of Future Engineers” at Purdue – including How To Pay for College and The Secret Sauce for Being Admitted. Kimberley and Amy answered many questions about preparing for college, and different avenues to make college more affordable.

Resource Section 1 – Specific to this Presentation

Resource Section 2 – General Resources

Closing and Engineering Fashion Show

Cherrie Fisher, Environmental Manager at At&t, finished the day by speaking on the importance and impact of women in STEM professions for industry/world. In closing, our Engineering Fashion Show participants Amanda Posadas (IT Requirement Manager at AT&T), Cherrie Fisher, Abi Badiru (National Goal Alignment Pillar Lead at Nestle Waters NA), and Amber Scheurer (Process Engineer, Semiconductor Manufacturing at Texas Instruments) showed how what they wear to work helps them do their jobs and in some cases protects them or the products they work on!

Impact Highlights

One very thankful parent sent us a very kind note right after the event:

My daughter and her friend recently attended the STEM class at SMU on Saturday and I just wanted to take the time to let you know how much my daughter enjoyed the class. Your volunteers and Engineers have truly left a very big impression on her. She couldn’t say enough about your volunteers. I unfortunately was not able to attend with her and it sounds that the Engineers were friendly, funny and very engaging. My daughter is very bright and scores very high on testing however does not like math and struggles at times, however loves Science. My hope was that this class would help her make the connection with the science she loves and math. I think you have been successful. Her new favorite movie is Hidden figures. Please thank everyone involved.

We also received some great responses on our attendee and volunteer surveys.

Student Reflections: What did you like most?

I loved the fashion show!! The gaming was exciting.

I liked doing the race cars although I didn’t win I still loved it.

Working together in my group and listening 2 the presentations!

All the educators were so energizing and fun, really makes me love creating and designing things for my world.

Volunteer Reflections:

The event was extremely well-organized! I was really impressed. The girls in my group loved all of their activities.

The girls really seemed to enjoy the hands on project. They were mostly independent of us and I think getting to make something functional was really positive.

Volunteer and student sessions were well organized. Students and parents who attended were thrilled with the whole day. 

This is why we continue to put on this event twice a year since 2012! Our next Design Your World STEM Conference will be this fall. Stay tuned for more details on that event as we transition our Dallas SWE leadership team over the summer!


Fall 2017 – Legacy Prep Academy Plano

Our 12th Design Your World STEM Conference for Girls held on November 11, 2017 at Legacy Prep Academy in Plano was a great success! By the numbers, 120 6th-8th graders, 25 parents and educators, and 128 volunteers made this an educational and fun day learning about science, technology, engineering, and math. THANK YOU to all of our generous corporage sponsors: Exxon Mobil, State Farm, Schneider Electric, AT&T, and Defy! We would also like to acknowledge the tireless efforts of our event coordinators: Terriekka Cardenas (Dallas SWE VP of Outreach and DYW Event Chair), Lynn Mortensen (Volunteer Coordinator), Amanda Allsbrook (Registration Chairs), Shelley Stracener (marketing and media), Sween Butler (opening/closing ceremony), Tripat Baweja (Parent & Educator forum), Teri Cate (Student Activities Coordinator), , and Liz Hainey (Fundraising and Food).

Photos and Video

You can find all of our event photos on our Facebook page album for this event! Check out the recap video below to get an idea of what the day was like.

Opening Session

After a welcome from Dallas SWE President Shelley Stracener and Vice President of Outreach Terriekka Cardenas, our opening session guest speaker took the stage. Gloria Veal, an Army Veteran, Technical Account Manager at IBM Watson and Cloud Platform, and Principal Program Manager – Communications, Marketing, and Public Relations at INC Tutoring, talked about overcoming adversity in her life, her inspiring military service (acknowledging Veteran’s Day), and how her life path brought her to a successful career in technology and a happy, prosperous family.

Student Activities

We had a great variety of student activities to choose from this year! Each student experienced three of the below activities during their day:

  • Bitsbox Programming – Sponsored by AT&T
    Students walked through web-based coding projects using Bitsbox software. This was definitely a conference favorite, and AT&T also sponsored Bitsbox kits for all 120 student attendees!
  • Balloon Cars
    Girls used wood and paper to build cars propelled by balloon power. They refined their designs through several races with friends.
  • Night & Day
    These kits taught students about astronomy, specifically how the position and rotation of the earth affect how we experience each day and night and our planet’s seasons
  • Weather Stations
    Girls assembled weather stations to take readings on wind direction and speed, temperature, cloud formations, and precipitation.
  • Water Bottle Rockets
    Students designed and decorated their own 2L water bottle rockets, then launched them in the school’s parking lot to test their designs!
  • Bridge Building
    Girls used gumdrops, toothpicks, and popsicle sticks to build bridges and test their strength.

Parent & Educator Sessions

After the opening speaker, the parents and educators were met by Tripat Baweja, Professor and Discipline Lead for Engineering and Technology at Collin College, who served as the session coordinator and moderator of the day’s guest speakers and panels. The Parent/Educator sessions of the conference featured three main sessions. The first session included a panel of parent of female engineering students, high school STEM educators, recent female engineering graduate and a female STEM professional to discuss the challenges, resources, and role of community as a whole in advancing STEM education for girls. The second session featured Career Coach/Engineering Counselor from Collin to highlight various pathways in STEM careers – dual credit at high school level, community college options, 4 year University, and work force degrees. Third session focused on organization called Design Connect Create program and the physics camp that they offer in the DFW area for high school girls.

One of the panelist, Bri Crow, Founder and President of Women’s Technology Coalition, sent us some additional information about her resources:
  • Resouces on Coworking: these coworking locations are available for a day, a month or long term residents. Coworking is where individuals from a company that may not have a local office, entrepreneurs, small teams, and other “drop in” professionals can work with wifi, coffee, and connections with other business folks. It’s a great alternative to working in a busy coffee shop or public library. These locations could give kids a peek into business life, especially over the summer if they need to work on a project. Students can likely get a free “day pass” as first-timers.
  • Startup pitches through Dallas New Tech:  This is a regularly scheduled adult event but some younger kids have been brought by parents in the past. This is a tangible resource for parents looking to expose their kids to entrepreneurial goings-on here in Dallas
  • Women’s Technology Coalition: A resourceful and inspiring non-profit organization focused on leveling the playing field for women in tech-enabled professions. They will be doing a 2018 event for parents and kids so stay tuned to their website for more details.
  • Bold Idea is a local nonprofit that teaches kids all facets of building software – some are tasked to be Project Managers, some Designers, some Developers, etc. They learn fundamentals of technology and then fall into the roles that fit them best so it’s a team project.
  • Tech Talent South is a coding boot camp that regularly does free kids coding events.
  • Code Day Dallas will take place  Feb 17-8, 2018: check it out!
  • Two great people passionate about kids in STEM:

Closing and Engineering Fashion Show

Our enthusiastic fashion show participants showed how what they wear to work helps them do their jobs and in some cases protects them or the products on which they work!

  • Shannon Cruise – as Facility Engineer
  • Rana Karimi – as an Engineering Project Manager
  • Sween Butler – as Process Engineer
  • Kim Concillado – as Controls Engineer
  • Amanda Alsbrook – as Mechanical Engineer

Impact Highlights

The smiles on each girl’s face and the knowledge we impart to their educators are why we continue to put on this event twice a year since 2012! The DYW STEM Conference for Girls is entirely volunteer run. Many thanks to the 74 volunteers from over 25 different companies or universities who spent over 700 hours to make this event a success. Our next Design Your World STEM Conference will be in the spring of 2018. Stay tuned here, subscribe to our email list, or follow us on social media for more details when they are announced!

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