ENGINEERING NEWS

Girls Experience Hands-on Engineering

Career Day for Girls took place Saturday, February 27

Undergraduate Tiernan Murrell (left) shows participants what it takes to build a car.Undergraduate Tiernan Murrell (left) shows participants what it takes to build a car.
During the lab tours, physics professor Arthur Schmidt performs an experiment that defies gravity.During the lab tours, physics professor Arthur Schmidt performs an experiment that defies gravity.
Participants look at the day's schedule, filled with hands-on experiments, lab tours, and discussions.Participants look at the day's schedule, filled with hands-on experiments, lab tours, and discussions.
Alumna and co-founder of Sproutel, Hannah Chung inspires participants with her keynote speech.Alumna and co-founder of Sproutel, Hannah Chung inspires participants with her keynote speech.
Participants brainstorm ideas for the design competition.Participants brainstorm ideas for the design competition.
Participants test their ideas during the hands-on design competition.Participants test their ideas during the hands-on design competition.

Last Saturday, more than 275 Chicago-area middle school and high school girls gathered at Northwestern University to discover if engineering is within their element. 

Northwestern Engineering’s 45th annual Career Day for Girls gives participants the opportunity to immerse themselves into engineering for a day. The event is designed to encourage young women to consider engineering in their educational and career goals.

“Engineering: Find Your Element” took place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on February 27 at the Technological Institute, 2145 N. Sheridan Road.

Sponsored by Northwestern Engineering and Northwestern’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, the popular event included an engineering design competition, laboratory tours, hands-on experiments, and a panel discussion about a variety of engineering majors and how to pursue them. Throughout the day, young women met with current female engineering students, faculty, and alumnae.

Northwestern alumna Hannah Chung (’12), co-founder and chief creative officer of Sproutel, kicked off the program with a keynote address in the Technological Institute’s Ryan Family Auditorium. Sproutel is the creator of Jerry the Bear, a platform to engage children in play-based education.

Students participating in the lab tours enjoyed many activities, which included simulating chemical reactions on a computer, drawing a picture using colorful bacteria, creating a floating concrete figurine, exploring 3-D printing, and learnong what it takes to build a car that runs on solar energy.

In the afternoon, middle school students rotated through three different hands-on activities while high school students learned about various aspects of engineering and then participated in a mini-design competition.

Career Day has been held at Northwestern annually since 1970, when only 4 percent of the students in the McCormick School of Engineering were women. Today, nearly one-third of Northwestern Engineering students are women.