What a great event the Women in Engineering Program (WEP) put on yesterday for Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day at UT Austin! They were so organized – color-coding the grade levels and buildings, conducting safety training and an info session before the event began, feeding all of the volunteers pizza and keeping us all hydrated with bottles of water. It was an amazing feat, and it was very well attended. About 2600 girls had pre-registered online – I don’t know what the final total of walk-in registrants was.
The set-up was a little challenging – we were in a classroom with individual desks that were bolted to the floor and couldn’t be pushed out of the way. But with some tables supplied by the WEP voluteers, some cork bulletin boards to serve as table tops, and a lot of ACCHaoS ingenuity, we were able to get all of our activities set up and ready before the girls arrived.
We were a little worried at first that we might not get many “visitors” because we were set up in a classroom toward the back of the Engineering Science building. We shouldn’t have worried! Lots of people came, and when they came, they stayed for quite a while. Our “bouncers” Velvet and her friend, Derrick even had to do some crowd management, and ask people to wait until some other people came out before we let them in – the crowd was bigger than the room could handle.
It was really fun to hear the girls and their parents discussing the different activities. The girls were amazing, as kids always are, but this group really spent a lot of time thinking and experimenting. Their insights were fantastic! I had a great time with one little girl who was determined that she would get the hang of the gyro rings. She must have worked on this for at least 15 to 20 minutes – and she finally got a couple of the rings to spin. What determination!
All of our volunteers did an awesome job – our regulars -Qurrat, Velvet, and Zach, our extra volunteers Saad Eways and his wife, Kathy, who have joined us before, and also our first time volunteers (talk about a trial by fire!) – Qurrat’s daughter, Zaina, Derrick, and Julienne LeMond. A special thanks to Karl Trappe for stepping up to fill in for our fearless leader, Paul Williams, who was ill and unable to attend. Get well Paul!
It was a great day, and we’re looking forward to being a part of it again next year!