On March 29 (Saturday) girls in grades 6 through 12 will conduct robotics and solar car experiments, learn to solve crimes, and meet engineering professionals at the fourth annual Design Your World conference at the University of North Texas.
The conference aims to help girls determine how they fit into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, and will take place at UNT’s Discovery Park campus, located at 3940 N Elm St in Denton. The event is organized by the UNT Society of Women Engineers and Dallas Society of Women Engineers and hosted by UNT’s College of Engineering.
“Girls are unfamiliar with how they fit in STEM fields,” said Nandika D’Souza, UNT professor of mechanical and energy engineering. “It is our goal to communicate how creativity and innovation are core parts of engineering. The hands on experience and interaction with engineers from Raytheon, Lockheed, AT&T, Halliburton are what girls have through the Design Your World Conference. This will inform and counter misconceptions about engineering.”
Research shows that girls have good ideas but do not claim ownership of their ideas in mixed gender environments, said D’Souza, who also is a member of both the UNT student and Dallas professional Society of Women Engineers.
“In the individual activities, girls work on their designs and communicate with one another, professional engineers and collegiate engineers. It is our intent to build their confidence in a secure environment so they can be confident in any place,” D’Souza said.
Conference participants will choose three engineering activities from seven different fields of engineering: electrical engineering, materials/manufacturing, renewable energy, construction, mechanical avid women, computer science/technology, and forensic science/CSI.
Activities for the fields of engineering will include robotics with female employees from AT&T, experiments with solar cars, crime solving and creating Rube Goldberg-inspired inventions with female employees from Avid Engineers. Girls and their parents will attend a lecture by keynote speaker Nancy Shugart, UNT alumnus and author of the book “Prove Them Wrong: The Kids Who Refused to Quit.”
“Without diversity in the science and math fields, the U.S. will struggle to gain new perspectives and outlooks on problems within our country that are solvable by those with STEM backgrounds,” said Mayaria Johnson, president of the UNT Society of Women Engineers.
Note: For more information about the event visit www.designyourworld.org