There are lots of different kinds of engineering – electrical, structural, mechanical, civil – and therefore, we need young people with lots of different interests and skills to fill those jobs for the next generation. And we especially want to encourage young women to explore engineering fields! Last Saturday the Museum held an event “engineered” to do just that. During our Engineering Day, activities and speakers showed off the creative and collaborative nature of engineering, and how engineers of all kinds are changing our world. Panels of successful female engineers provided some career awareness and inspiration by sharing their stories and some keys to their success, local engineering organizations and students showcased their innovations, and Museum staff delivered lots of fun hands-on activities and workshops for over 500 visitors.
This event was designed to stimulate the next generation of engineers, and could not have been carried out without the generous support of our current generation of engineers and other professionals. Special thanks goes to one of our newest members of the Miami Science Museum Board of Trustees, Vanessa Grout. As President/CEO of Douglas Elliman Florida, which served as title sponsor for the event, she was a source of unwavering support. And after attending the event, she felt that “the enthusiasm shared by the children as they participated in the learning exercises was inspiring.”
Other organizations that provided speakers, volunteers, and hands-on activities for the event included the National Engineers Week Foundation, IBM, Johnson Controls, Society of Women Engineers chapters from University of Miami and Florida International University, the Tau Beta Pi chapter at FIU, Girls Scouts of Tropical Florida, United States Air Force, and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Additionally, generous financial support from Morgan Energy, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, and the Cuban American Association of Civil Engineers allowed this event to be free of charge for all students, male and female, in grades K-12.
Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day 2001 was the first national call-out to the profession to focus on getting more girls into engineering and technology. The founding partners were the Society of Women Engineers, MentorNet, IBM, the Association for Women in Science, the Women in Engineering ProActive Network, and the National Engineers Week Foundation. The day serves as catalyst and focal point for activism, and each year during Engineers Week, “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” encourages thousands of women engineers, with support from their male counterparts, to directly mentor more than one million girls and young women in K-12 with first-hand experiences in engineering.
The Museum’s involvement in the annual national celebration of Engineering Week, as well as “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day,” started three years ago as a direct result of our leadership role in the Girls RISE National Museum Network project, funded by the National Science Foundation.