This past April, Chico State SWE hosted over 170 participants at our annual K-6 STEM outreach event, Imagineer Day. Started in 2013 with just 100 participants, this award-winning, annual event brings the engineering career path to the attention of local children ranging from grades K-6. Every participant had the opportunity to experience fun, hands-on engineering activities, all the while learning how and why the things in this world work the way they do.
This year’s labs featured engineering disciplines such as Water Resources, Civil/Structural, Mechanical, Computer, Aerospace Engineering and Computer Science.
While this event is planned and funded by the Chico State SWE section, they are very proud that it has become a group effort and collaboration across the entire College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management (ECC). This year, the section hit a record of four other College of ECC student organizations, along with their SWENext section, leading hands-on labs. This marks Chico State SWE’s largest cross-club collaboration that Imagineer Day has had to date.
To learn more about Imagineer Day and see more photos, visit the Chico State SWE section website at csuchico.swe.org.
This past April, Humboldt State’s SWE section held their annual SWE Social in Eureka, CA. They invited their entire Environmental Resources Engineering student body and faculty as well as local women engineers. This year in particular, there was a great turnout of professionals and student attendees; all participants were encouraged to mingle and share their experiences and knowledge in the engineering field. Prior to the social, HSU SWE also held a networking workshop to help members prepare for the event. Members received tips and advice on how to make strong and meaningful connections when networking. HSU SWE hopes this event continues to grow and promote stronger relationships between students and professionals.
On Sunday, March 29th Humboldt State University (HSU) held their annual Girl Scout Day Event from 9:00am-2:00pm. The event outreached to approximately 46 Girl Scouts with the help of 14 engineering student volunteers. HSU SWE leaders wrote a grant to the university Diversity Office to have the girls on campus. The Diversity Office awarded HSU SWE $900 dollars for the event and, with the award money, HSU SWE purchased all new outreach materials including six solar robot kits, six water filtration kits, six squishy circuit kits and six pulley kits. With the leftover award money SWE members then purchased materials to provide the Girl Scouts with “goodie folders” which included information about SWENext, post-its, mechanical pencils, rulers and SWE stickers. The event was a huge success as both Girl Scouts and Troop Leaders were pleased with the number of engineering activities and information provided by engineering students. The outreach materials will also be used to further the section’s outreach efforts in upcoming years.
Humboldt State students have been hard at work coordinating with the local middle school to develop a successful outreach program. This semester, students from both organizations on the Humboldt State campus have spent time presenting bridge concepts to students and working on giving them ideas to compete with at the Math Festival.
The Humboldt County Math Festival is an annual event that allows students to engage and compete with STEM activities, this year Zane Middle School is adding a new engineering challenge to the event. The Popsicle Stick Bridge Contest challenges builders to construct a 27 to 30 inch freestanding bridge with just 99 popsicle sticks. Bridges will be tested for strength, aesthetics and design. Festival coordinator, Zane Middle School teacher Ken Pinkerton and students from Humboldt State University Society of Women Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) are organizing the contest. North Coast Branch of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and SHN Consulting Engineers are sponsoring materials including glue and popsicle sticks for the bridges.
The Humboldt State University Section of the Society of Women Engineers is excited to partner with SHPE and is looking forward to the upcoming festival and relationship they are building with the local middle school. Both organizations are working hard to develop a strong relationship that can maintain outreach opportunities in upcoming years.
Region A is proud to announce that our very own Dr. Erika Rodriguez, a member of the SWE Santa Clara Professional section, has done extraordinary work at NASA Ames Research Center. Dr. Rodriguez was involved with the launch of the Orion EFT-1 on December 5th, 2014, NASA’s first test flight of the space capsule designed to eventually take humans to Mars. She was the only hispanic female at NASA Ames working on material physical response via non-destructive and destructive material testing for the EFT-1 heatshield.
Dr. Rodriguez is a full time staff research scientist in the thermal protection system (TPS) division at NASA Ames Research Center. Recently celebrating her two year anniversary at NASA, she is learning of the challenges of characterizing TPS material performance during re-entry. Dr. Rodriguez is currently developing strategies and non-destructive evaluations (NDE) for analyzing TPS performance. She attended the Orion EFT-1 launch at Kennedy Space Center and then traveled to San Diego following the capsule splashdown. Dr. Rodriguez is part of a research team that is directly involved in evaluating the TPS performance during Orion EFT-1 Earth’s re-entry. She had the task of extracting material from the actual heatshield flown on Orion EFT-1 and study its material response post-flight.
Region A congratulates Dr. Rodriguez on her tremendous and innovative achievements to the STEM field!
Section reports were recently turned in to our RCR, Leabeth Peterson, and many sections had impressive reports that informed about their section best practices. The best practice answer submitted by Erin Baumgartner, CSU, Chico section president, was above par and gave great insight on what Chico State does for their outreach event. Erin wrote the following:
“A best practice for our section would be our biggest annual K-6 STEM-education outreach event, Imagineer Day. The event is held in the spring semester in the CSU, Chico engineering buildings and is funded primarily by our own section.
The day-long event brings together over 130 local grade K-6 students (girls and boys) together to participate in multiple hands-on labs that demonstrate basic engineering-concepts. Each participants leaves the event with a unique Imagineer Day t-shirt (designed by a SWE member each year) and a goodie-bag filled with school supplies (folders, notebook, pencils, crayons, erasers, etc.). Each lab is taught by a SWE officer/member, along with the help of volunteers from other CSU, Chico College of Engineering clubs.
The goal of Imagineer Day is to get young girls (and boys) interested in the engineering field. During the event, we not only discuss engineering as a subject of study and career choice, but we also encourage the children to think about their own future. We aim to show the participants that STEM subjects can be fun, exciting and more “hands-on” than just reading from a textbook.
We receive many compliments from parents that attend the event along with their children every year; not only do they compliment us on the instruction of the labs, the lab instructors and volunteers, but they also compliment the fact that our instructors and volunteers represent such a diverse group (in relation to sex, race, age and engineering discipline). Every year has called for an expansion due to demand as well; our section’s first Imagineer Day held around 100 participants and this year we plan for 150. Multiple articles have been published in our university newspaper, The Orion, and in the annual CSU, Chico College of Engineering magazine, Connections. Our section’s Public Relations officer was also interviewed last spring on the local TV news station about the event.”
Thank you Erin for sharing this best practice with us and we hope CSU, Chico continues to host wonderful and inspiring outreach events such as this.
If you have any questions regarding Imagineer Day, please contact Erin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attention Professional Members of Region A!
There is a wonderful sponsorship opportunity for the San Jose State University SWE section. The SJSU section is excited to announce their formation of a Boeing Team Tech group, which is an inter-disciplinary design competition meant to strengthen team building and engineering skills. Please click on the link below for the funding proposal by Samantha Sprau, Team Lead of SJSU Team Tech. Samantha’s contact information is provided on the linked proposal and if you have any questions regarding the sponsorship opportunity please refer them to her. The help of you and your company will be greatly appreciated and please assist SJSU’s Team Tech in spreading the word!
Above: group photo in front of the Livingston facility. Below left: All dressed up in safety gear before entering the bottling facilities. Below right: Lunch at Gallo in Modesto between the two factory tours.
Over the last year the San Joaquin Valley Section has hosted a three-part series, “Engineering in Wine.” This series included technical tours of Gallo Winery facilities, showcasing grape processing, packaging and bottling. In the first tour, students and professionals visited one of the largest grape processing facilities in the world at E. & J. Gallo Winery in Livingston, CA. The 18 participants watched the delivery of a truckload of grapes, and then followed the grapes through a journey of pipes and (very cool) machinery while learning about the fermentation process.
Students really enjoyed hearing about the type of work that the many engineers at this ever-growing facility participate in. The tour was followed by a picnic lunch at a nearby park where students from University of the Pacific, UC Merced and professionals from the San Joaquin Valley could get to know each other.
The second event in the series was a tour of the Scholle packaging plant in Merced where ‘bag in a box’ packaging is produced. This type of sterile packaging is used for a wide variety of food products beyond boxed wine, such as giant storage bags for salsa that can keep for months in a warehouse (who knew?).
Scholle routinely hires interns, and before the tour started students from CSU Fresno, UC Merced and University of the Pacific heard some excellent advice from the female plant manager on what it takes to earn an internship, what to expect during an internship and what it’s like to be a woman in manufacturing.
Following the tour, everyone was invited to Dena Traina’s home, one of the San Joaquin Valley officers, for a late lunch and an intimate talk by Cara Strom, Senior Vice President at Hatch Mott MacDonald. Cara spoke about California’s exciting high speed train project, on which she has been working for several years–and of course gave excellent advice to some of the younger members on how to succeed in engineering.
The final event in the Engineering in Wine series was a tour of E. & J. Gallo’s Modesto Headquarters where all of the wine is bottled. (This event was so popular that a second tour was set up, following the lunch, to accommodate everyone who was interested in attending). The event started with a history of Gallo by Megan Kayland, a San Joaquin Valley officer who works at Gallo and who set up the series of events. Megan talked about the wide range of engineering majors that Gallo recruits, and some of the many jobs they work on.
At the factory tour we marveled at the massive lines that process millions of bottles of wine a year—sterilizing the bottles, filling them with wine, labeling them, and boxing the bottles for shipment. The machinery was amazing! This event was attended by San Joaquin Valley professional members and students from UC Merced, University of the Pacific, and UC Davis. UC Merced also invited fellow NSBE members who were able to join the tour.
One of the primary goals of these events was to form a stronger relationship between the San Joaquin Valley section and all of the student sections within our area. Hopefully this will help with retention after students graduate. Having the three-part series seemed to increase participation with the cohesion of several events over the year. This event was a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about career options available to them, and to meet successful women working in these jobs. For the professionals, it was fun to catch up with each other in person and to see new sectors of engineering that they typically don’t work in.