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
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.
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.
Water Bottle Rockets
Night and Day
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 student, 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
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!