The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) chapter on the Christian Brothers University (CBU) campus in Memphis is sending a “shout out” to all girls who may or may not have, ever considered pursuing a degree in a S.T.E.M. field. The organization has previously hosted spring and summer workshops presented by CBU administrators, but this is the first time a student-led workshop has been presented. The SWE Fall Workshop will be held on Saturday, November 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
As workshop co-chairs of the CBU SWE, undergraduate sophomores Yuliana Luna and Georgina Johns have created the free workshop for middle and high school girls to introduce them to S.T.E.M. career opportunities. Their goal is to encourage girls to consider engineering, or any S.T.E.M. program, when it comes to choosing a career.
“When I was younger, I knew I was good at science and math, but I was more interested in the performing arts,” said Luna who is majoring in Civil Engineering, with a minor in Packaging Engineering. “I liked math in high school, but I did not have this passion. It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized I was really good at math. I like science and physics and that is how I decided to get into engineering.”
Johns knew early on she wanted to study engineering.
“I was pretty good in math and I figured engineering would be the right way to go,” said Johns. “I am more of a visual person, so I’m studying Structural Engineering. To see structures built up by calculations is pretty cool to me.”
The women have benefitted from their membership with SWE in many areas like tutoring; association with a number of professional female engineers; mentoring support and resume assistance. Luna and Johns both graduated from schools in the Mid-South area; Luna, from Cordova High School and Johns, from Houston High School. They want to encourage other girls as they have been supported.
“There are not enough women in this field and it would be great to have more,” said Luna.
There will be a morning session from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. for sixth through eighth graders and an afternoon session from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for ninth through twelfth graders. The focus will be on Civil and Mechanical Engineering. There will be discussions, demonstrations and hands-on opportunities. The workshops will be taught by a CBU professor and an upper-class senior from the engineering department.
“Some of the activities include working with math, physics and different types of sciences,” said Johns. “In the Civil Engineering workshop, there will be bridge building using K’NEX . The same engineering will be covered in both workshops, but the older level will be a little more advanced.”
Luna and Johns have great expectations for the day and shared girls are already responding to “the call” and have registered for the workshops. Both women agreed the engineering field is growing and will continue to be a part of the future. They want to see more women involved.
“Engineering is going to grow and we need diversity, meaning females in the field, to get a different perspective than males,” said Johns. “I think, over time, females will hopefully rule over the engineering profession.”
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