A group of girls cheer ecstatically as they drop their carefully-engineered egg crate from a balcony of the UH Engineering building. It hits the ground with a thud and another cheer explodes as the girls discover their egg remains intact inside. Nearby, a young girl beams intently at a robot as it scoots across a tabletop and performs tasks, too enthralled to notice the excited screams of a successful egg drop.
This was just part of the scene at the second annual “Girls Engineering the Future Day: A STEM Event” sponsored by Chevron and hosted by the UH Cullen College of Engineering this April. Nearly 500 Houston-area girls in grades 4-8 took part in the STEM extravaganza, which introduced tough science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts through fun, hands-on activities.
UH Engineering professors and student organizations ran “stations” throughout the engineering buildings and lawns, each containing a demo, activity or project. Girls created and played with pink “magic goop” at a station hosted by UH American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) students, made bread “fossils” with students from the UH Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and built an electrical circuit with students from the UH Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Other activities and workshops included an egg drop contest, circuit board bingo, driving robots, building catapults, designing buildings for earthquakes and a jewelry-making robot station, among many more. Chevron volunteers also helped at various activity stations throughout the day.