Girls Engineering Competition Open: Programmable Plush

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GECO Girls 2014

GECO Girls 2014 (with their “programmable plush”)

Thanks to a generous funding from the Ethel and W. George Kenney Family Foundation, the Museum recently implemented Girls Engineering Competition Open (GECO), designed to raise middle school girls’ interest in computer science and engineering careers. The girls, representing fifteen Miami-Dade County middle schools, participated in coding and engineering workshops on January 17 and February 7. Four members of the Florida International University chapter of the Society of Women Engineers served as mentors during the workshop. Each girl learned to design, create and code her own “programmable plush” creature, using Arduino Lilypads.  Museum staff members Cheryl Juarez, Isabel Leeder and Ta-Shana Taylor and Tony Puig were involved in the project.

During the Museum’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, the girls displayed their unique engineering projects in the museum lobby, and presented their projects to a panel of engineers, including Col. Vanesa Bond, USAF, Maria Porrata, American Association of Civil Engineers and Cuban American Association of Civil Engineers, Cristina Gonzalez, Miami-Dade ASCE, and Prof. Maxime G. Dessé, Miami-Dade College. Prizes were presented by Gillian Thomas to the top two projects in each grade level and girls who participated in all the GECO events were given a one-year family membership to the Museum.

puppy creatureJudge Bond and Kennedy

angle fish 3

Gillian, Maria Porrata, GECO winners

The GECO winners with Museum President and CEO, Gillian Thomas (at left)

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