The New Way
Every week I ask my pastor for his sermon topic for the next Sunday since I write the press release for the church and include the title, hoping we get more than the usual 24 or so showing up. This week it is “The New Way”, and I thought this would make a good topic for this month’s SWE-NESS outreach topic as well.
It is January, the beginning of another new year, and as people make and ultimately break their New Year resolutions, perhaps titling a resolution as a “new way” instead might work out better in the long run.
Next month is National Engineers Week, and to get you in the mindset of how you can make a difference in an outreach to youth, make a new way toward learning more through a free webinar this month. The people at discovere.org (formerly eweek.org) are hosting a webinar at noon on 14 January titled 6 Easy Things You Can Do to Make a Difference during Engineers Week. They will present easy to implement activities and review turnkey resources you can use to celebrate engineering and successfully introduce students to engineering. You can RSVP to them here. As always, their webinars may be seen later if you cannot attend at the original time slotted.
Another new way to go is to bring living role models to life for youth who want to know why they should take any STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, math) in school or college. “What’s in it for me?” and “When am I ever going to use this stuff?” are common responses to someone pushing them toward these subjects. Do a little research, starting with this short article. This article talks about how the women at the top of the 2014 Fortune Most Powerful Women list are into STEM bigtime, listing technology companies like IBM, HP, Lockheed-Martin, and DuPont having more women as executives running the show. Not only are they good in business, they also majored in the field. The article names examples who you can further research to help prove your point to the wary student.
For those teenage girls who are still holdouts, you can go a different new way with this article on a startup company called Vidcode. The company was founded by two women, a photographer and a software engineer, designing an easy-to-learn code “to appeal to photo-fiend teen girls.” Girls can add color-tinting and other effects to homemade videos. The founders created Vidcode to get more girls involved in coding, “observing that girls became far more interested in learning to code if the experience reflected their creative interests and social lives.”
For those of you who teach, perhaps you can head in a new way based on this article. The author is a senior research scientist who conducts research on effective physics teaching and learning. She relates her personal experiences in college as a STEM student: how she was treated and what she did as a result. Her goal is to change the way STEM is taught to students, specifically physics. To get more women interested in the STEM fields in the secondary schools and those of higher learning, I agree with her that the subjects should be taught more interactively, with more hands-on activities, and more real-life applications. Women, more than men, lean toward the social aspect of a job, where they can make a difference. By having real-life applications illustrating this aspect, perhaps more young women will find the new way toward a STEM career.
I have given you some new ways to go this new year, keeping in mind our local outreach programs are there as well. I will be sending out materials this month to those who volunteered to set up STEM book displays at their community libraries to promote E-Week for the month of February. There is a great engineering outreach to middle school Cadette Girl Scouts in Connecticut called Engineers to the Rescue! on the 23rd and 24th of this month, facilitated by SWE-NESS member Kimberly McLean. There are also two other programs next month: the Girl Scout SWE badge workshop at RWU and the Be an Engineer workshop at the Providence Children’s Museum. Details on these will follow in emails for volunteers later this month, so watch your email and think of the new way (or ways) you want to go!
OUTREACH PROGRAM CALENDAR
Jan. 23-24: Girl Scout Cadette workshop: Engineers to the Rescue!, 7 PM-3:30 PM, Pattagansett GS Camp, East Lyme, CT; POC Kimberly McLean
Feb. 7: Girl Scout Junior SWE badge workshop, 9-noon, RWU Engineering Bldg; POC Sue Anderson Feb. 21: Be an Engineer workshop, 11-2, Providence Children’s Museum; POC Sue Anderson