SEE WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO
Every year in March James Madison University hosts the Expanding Your Horizons Conference, a conference to accelerate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to young girls grades 6 through 10. Multiple campus groups and academic departments lead workshops that the young students can sign up for. This was the third year that the JMU Society of Women Engineers participated, also the third year where three workshops were requested and easily filled up.
The engineering workshop explored the many discipline of engineering one can enter to learn and pursue a career. The workshop then transition into the importance of design and geometry when designing and building a long-lasting structure, such as a bridge. The young girls are then asked to partake in a challenge--to build a candy structure that can withstand large amounts of "candy loads!" Teams of two were given materials such as gumdrops, toothpicks, Twizzlers, etc. The team with the structure that holds the most amount of candy wins the challenge.
It's a great challenge that is really thought-provoking; "what shapes will be the most sturdiest?", "how can I make this bridge self-standing?", "how can I evenly distribute the materials?" The challenge and the hands-on experience seems to make the workshop a lot of fun. One parent at the conference said, "Last year we saw girls carrying around large structures of candy and we knew we HAD to sign up early for the engineering workshop."
Not only do the students have fun, but also the workshop leaders! Dr. Jacquelyn Nagel and the members of the Society of Women Engineers always have fun at this conference every year.