WE@RIT: A Student’s Perspective

December 2, 2015

WE@RIT-logo2_0On November 9th, the Women In Engineering (WE@RIT) program, in conjunction with the Women in Computing (WiC) program, came together to host their inaugural WE@RIT/WiC Open House.  Geared to girls in grades 5-9, this was an experiential event with activities, demonstrations and displays that showcased the many different areas of engineering that are available to our future engineers.  We invited a local middle school student to share her experience at this event.  

A few weeks ago I attended a Women in Engineering and a Women in Computing open house at RIT. I wasn’t sure what to expect so I was surprised to see so many varieties of engineering. There were Chemical, Computer, Mechanical and many more types of engineering. I didn’t realize there were so many girls, like me, who liked engineering. The place was packed.

One of the many hands-on stations at this event

One of the many hands-on stations at this event

There were a lot of activities that I admired and one of them was the electrical engineering:  robotics. There was a robot that was programed to do tricks like cartwheels and handstands. I was also very interested in a computer program. On the computer you make a robot that battles other robots. This was one of my personal favorites.

My sister also accompanied me and her favorite activity was a big surprise. It was mechanical engineering and materials in science. Really what it was, was playing in goo!

Hands-on gooey fun!

Hands-on gooey fun!

Programmable Robots!

Programmable Robots!














Overall I had a great time. There were a lot of activities that kept me engaged. It was a lot of fun. I would definitely do it again if they have another open house.

Alexandra Covert is a 7th grade student at the Oliver Middle School in Brockport, NY.

Are you a local student interested in writing about your experiences in local STEM activities?  We invite you to join us for our student guest blog series! Contact our Web Administrator at tammybon@EmpireSTEM-FL.org



The “E” in STEM

April 20, 2015

Last month during Engineering Week, we started taking a look at Engineering Explorer Posts available to our local High School Students.  This week’s focus is on Explorer Post 801, hosted by the Rochester Engineering Society.

Explorer Post 801

Explorer Post 801

The members of the Rochester Engineering Society (RES) feel the best part of STEM is the “E”.  Each year, the RES sponsors “Career Options in Engineering”, Explorer Post 801.  The post is open to older high school girls and boys in the five county area around Rochester, NY.  The focus is to help students find out what “Engineering is really about”.

The stereotypical engineer has thick glasses, bends over a desk all day, writes with a mechanical pencil all while avoiding eye contact with people.  The purpose of Post 801 is to introduce students to real engineers, doing real work in the real world.  I’ll bet there is at least one of us that matches the stereotype, but most engineers spend their day talking with other engineers, customers, trades people and consumers trying to solve real problems.

Explorers at __________

Inside the RIT Microelectronics clean room

Students hear about a typical day in the life of an engineer from the engineer.  Students learn about engineering education, about the perks of being an engineer and even about some of the trials an engineer might experience.  This is not about slick power point presentations, but more show and tell, with a smattering of advice from the heart.

Each of our presenters tells the story of their road to engineering.  Some were math whizzes in high school but a few were not!  They tell the story of what college they selected and why.  We always hear a few stories about special jobs they did that you would never expect an engineer to do.  One has a story of cleaning up Anthrax contamination in a NYC sky scraper while another has stories of working on JFK autopsy pictures.

Explorers at ______

Gleason Works

Each engineer tells the story of a job that pays well, offers constant challenges and continuous learning, but offers the bigger perk of personal satisfaction.  At the end of the day, engineers design and build products that help people.  Imagine your personal pride as you are in a car driving over the Frederick Douglass – Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge in Rochester with your family and grandchildren, knowing that your work helps tens of thousands of people make it home from work each day, every day, safely and quickly.

The post runs from January to March, meeting each Thursday night from 6:30 to 8:30.  Sign up is in early October.  This year we had 24 students and 12 meetings.  Our students met engineers from: Chemical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, Structural Engineering, Highway Engineering, Bio medical Engineering, Microelectronic Engineering, Software Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Electro-Magnetic Interference Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Imaging Science.  You can see the full schedule on the RES Website.

Explorers at _____

Chemical Engineering at RIT

Each week we meet at a new location so we can see and feel what it is like to be an engineer.  We tour facilities like: the Gleason Works, the Microelectronics Wafer Fab Facility at RIT, the Bio-medical Engineering labs at the U of R, the Electro-Magnetic Interference and Product Safety Test Engineering labs at TUV Rheinland of North America and the Ginna Nuclear power plant.

The RES Explorers would like to express our appreciation for the generosity of our host companies, institutions and most importantly the presenters that donated their time and talents to meet with our students.  Our program will start again in January 2016 and we would welcome your children.  Contact Lynne Irwin at the RES res@frontiernet.net (585) 254-2350 or Keith Gomez Keith.Gomez@scouting.org from the Seneca Waterways Council, BSA (585) 244-4210 for more information.  The cost of the program is approximately $40.

Richard Repka is a Commercialization manger at Kodak Alaris.  He has a BS & MS in Electrical Engineering from RIT and Syracuse University.  Richard is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a member of the Rochester Engineering Society (RES), where he also leads the RES Explorer Post 801.RESLOGOFINAL_cmyk_tagc

Exploring Engineers: Society of Women Engineers Post

February 26, 2015

WIE pic

Part of Engineering Week, Introduce A Girl to Engineering Day is celebrated today!  It seemed only fitting to kick off our look at local Explorer Posts by focusing on this amazing group dedicated to budding young female engineers!

The SWEet Explorer Group

The SWEet Explorer Group

For the 2014-2015 term the Rochester Section of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) wanted to help enrich the minds of young high school women who were interested in engineering fields.

We did this by hosting a once a month explorer post at a local engineering facility in Rochester. This program is called “Engineering is SWEet”.  So far the 21 young women have been able to tour SPX, Wegmans, NY Battery Lab, Bergmann Associates, Xerox, and in March they will tour Harris Corporation.

Since February 26th is National Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day a second event was added this month for the young women participating in the Engineering is SWEet Explorer Post. Today during “Shadow an Engineer Day”, girls will shadow an engineer for a portion of the day.  The young women will be visiting RIT, Bergmann Associates, Harris Corp, and Exelis.  The Engineering is SWEet Explorer Post will conclude in April for this year’s term.  We at SWE are hoping that this is just the first year of a long running Explorer Post and that we will be able to have different companies and more interested young women wanting to participate.

Exploring Engineers during a monthly visit.

Exploring Engineers during a monthly visit.

For more information on the Society of Women Engineers, check out their website!  For more information on their Explorer Program for young women, please contact Casey Daggett at (585)245-2909 or ccdaggett@gmail.com.

Casey Daggett is the Outreach Chair for the Rochester Section of the Society of Women Engineers.  Meet Casey and other SWEet Engineers on the SWE Member Highlights page



Spark Interest with Videos

November 3, 2008

Over the summer, a friend of mine shared an amazing site with me. It’s called ted.com; subtitle: ideas worth spreading. TED stands for technology, entertainment, and design. For the past twenty four years, TED has held an annual conference at which some of the world’s most facinating thinkers and doers have spoken. This site offers countless videos that can be used to spark the interest of students, introduce new topics in your classroom, as well as a conversational springboard for people of all ages.

One video that caught my attention today is entitled “Products (and toys) from the Future“. The presenters of this video, Zach Kaplan and Keith Schacht are co-founders of Inventables, a company that collects and shows off new materials and new ideas. In this video they present six specialized materials, and offer ideas how to best use them.

Six Products of the Future are explored in this video

Six Products of the Future are explored in this video

After viewing this video, I wondered how many of the six materials listed have indeed been marketed since this presentation. I will spend some time over the next week looking into this… please refer back to our blog to find out, and add any thoughts  you might have.

 If you take a minute to explore some of the other videos, please let us know which ones you find most interesting and/or useful in your teaching/learning. We hope you enjoy the resource!