More than 380 middle-school girls became engineers for the day during the Society of Women Engineers’ (SWE) Invent It. Build It. event, a hands-on program that provides girls with unique opportunities to learn about the engineering profession. Aspiring adolescent engineers gathered on Oct. 26, alongside female professional engineers, at the Baltimore Convention Center to participate in interactive activities that included creating spacecraft models with shock-absorbing systems and building electric dance pads.
In partnership with the ExxonMobil Foundation, Girl Scouts of Central Maryland and WGBH-TV’s “Design Squad Nation”, Invent It. Build It. highlights the positive impact engineers have on society in order to capture girls’ interest in pursuing the engineering profession.
In 2012, the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee reported a labor-force shortage of skilled workers in science and technology fields and that the demand for workers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields is projected to continue rising in the future. The committee also emphasized the increasing need for more women to develop STEM skills and pursue careers in related fields, especially in engineering where only 14 percent of engineers are women.
“SWE is committed to reaching girls who have an interest in math and science and showing them the diverse and rewarding opportunities an engineering career can offer them,” said Stacey Delvecchio, president of the Society of Women Engineers. “Engineering provides an avenue to use one’s talent, ingenuity and problem-solving skills to give back and impact lives whether it’s through the creation of an efficient, low-cost water filter that provides clean water to third-world countries or the next iPhone.”
The activities, coordinated by representatives of the Emmy-winning television series “Design Squad Nation”, are designed to strengthen students’ critical-thinking skills while also demonstrating the fun, hands-on applications of math and science.
Invent It. Build It. marked the culmination of SWE’s annual conference in Baltimore, which featured an industry-focused career fair, workshops and panel discussions. Similar Invent It. Build It. events have been held in Orlando (2010), Chicago (2011) and Houston (2012)