On February 27, the Northshore STEM Coalition hosted Engineering Day for Girls (ED4G), a free, annual event that aims to introduce girls to the field of engineering. The event, which achieved full registration, included both in-person and virtual participation options.

ED4G centers on an engineering challenge to be completed by event participants and features women in the engineering field as guest speakers. Event participants have the opportunity to ask questions and have discussions with STEM professionals while exploring and honing their own engineering skills.

Led by Southeastern and Northshore Technical Community College, Northshore STEM increases community awareness and interest in STEM by promoting and creating STEM events and supporting out-of-school programs in the Northshore region.

Chuck Crabtree, co-chair of the Northshore STEM Coalition, said the whole idea behind Engineering Day for Girls is for participants to leave the event with the mindset, “I am what a future engineer looks like!”

“For our country to remain competitive in the rapidly changing world of technology, we need a diversity of viewpoints, as well as the creativity and innovation of both male and female participants,” Crabtree said. “Women have traditionally been underrepresented in engineering, but we can change that. By providing support, encouragement, and access to more opportunities to apply STEM knowledge and the engineering design process, we can help girls envision themselves in engineering careers.”

This year’s engineering challenge was to construct a functional bridge out of Popsicle sticks and wood glue, which was provided by the event organizers. NASA System Quality Engineer Renee Horton led the activity.

Participants used the engineering process to design, build, and test their bridges. Winners were selected in different categories, such as the bridge that held the most weight using canned goods as weights, the most cost-effective bridge that used the least Popsicle sticks, and the fastest built bridge.

“Showing our girls that they can create and innovate something techie is an amazing experience for them,” Horton said. “When they realize they can do it, it makes the impossible seem possible for all their dreams. Engineering is the start of them creating something amazing.”

For more information about Northshore STEM, visit www.northshorestem.org.

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