The College of Engineering and the Lincoln Children’s Museum are working together to inspire girls into engineering with “Introduce A Girl to Engineering Day” on Sunday, May 6 at Nebraska Innovation Campus. More than 500 girls in third through 12th grade are expected to attend this event.
Sally Wei, coordinator of engineering education and outreach, and one of the organizers of “Introduce A Girl to Engineering Day,” says she got the idea for the event after seeing it promoted by DiscoverE, an organization dedicated to finding and mobilizing community mentors for engineering and technology programs. This led to finding a willing partner with the Lincoln Children’s Museum and the first “Introduce A Girl to Engineering Day” in Lincoln was born.
“There’s definitely a need,” said Wei, who pointed out the initial session, which was scheduled for Feb. 24, filled up quickly with students who wanted to learn more about engineering. “Word quickly spread about the event and we were so happy with the response.” When freezing rain and ice put a damper on the February event, forcing the postponement to spring, Wei was cautiously optimistic the new date would still be well supported but pleasantly surprised when even more students registered for the May 6 date.
“It’s great to have support like this from the community,” she added. “Because of the partnership with the Lincoln Children’s Museum and generosity from industry partners like LES, Duncan Aviation, Olsson Associates, Clark Enersen and the Junior League of Lincoln, we went about raising funds for the event and never dreamed we’d have this response. Having these great partners shows how influential networking can be, especially when plans change.”S
The change in plans didn’t impact student interest but it did impact volunteer involvement. While Wei originally had UNL engineering students – part of the Nebraska Engineering Ambassadors Network – available to lead activities and serve as mentors, the new date in May poses problems as classes on campus will end on Friday, May 4, which means most engineering ambassadors will be unavailable. “We definitely would like more volunteers,” added Wei, who oversees the Engineering Ambassadors Network at UNL. “Specifically, more women engineers who want to help that day.”
“Introduce A Girl to Engineering Day” will feature a screening of the movie “Dream Big, Engineering Our World” and a variety of hands-on events at Nebraska Innovation Campus to engage girls with problem-solving activities. Sessions run from 2 to 4 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m., including a separate parent session on how to support their daughter’s interest in engineering.
Registration is open but will close when capacity is met. The event is free, however, there is a $3 processing fee per order. For information about how to volunteer for “Introduce A Girl to Engineering Day,” contact Wei by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Lincoln Children’s Museum website
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