Outreach at RPI SWE

One of the Society of Women Engineers' main goals is to inspire the next generation of girls to become engineers. Here at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, we are committed to this goal and we host many events throughout the year. The Outreach Committee is comprised of the Outreach Director as well as volunteers that plan and run all outreach events. RPI SWE has a strong relationship with the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York (GSNENY) and partners with GSNENY for several events. In addition, RPI SWE has been involved with the Children's Museum of Science and Technology and Microsoft's Digigirlz program.

Have a question about RPI SWE's outreach programs? Want to get involved in RPI SWE Outreach? Email Outreach Director Sahara Becker (RPISWEOutreach@gmail.com). The Outreach Committee meets every Tuesday from 7 PM to 8 PM in Union 3502.

Please Register for SWEeter Futures!!!

SWEeter Futures is a program that tracks the impact we are having as we strive to bring more women into the field of engineering. This is accomplished by connecting SWE members to volunteer opportunities and partners, providing greater visibility into the important outreach work we do, and recognizing members for their efforts. Make an account here and log past and present volunteer hours! Contact our Outreach Director for questions.


Events Planned for Outreach

Exploring Engineering Day

Exploring Engineering Day is a yearly day program of hands-on engineering activities for local Boy and Girl Scouts planned by RPI SWE's Engineering Event Director and RPI's School of Engineering. Activities are designed to spark interest in science and technology and to encourage them to consider pursuing careers in the engineering field. Participants exercise their problem-solving, brainstorming, design, and teamwork skills in hands-on activities that cover a wide range of engineering disciplines including electrical, biomedical, aeronautical, and mechanical engineering. Click here for more info. 

Girl Scout Engineering Day

A Saturday morning dedicated to introducing Brownies and Juniors to STEM subjects. Participants arrive and are given a brief introduction to engineering. Participants then rotate through five different hands-on activities. In the past they have included: Liquid Nitrogen (learn about liquid nitrogen's applications in science and how it changes the properties of certain objects such as roses, coins and bouncy balls), Chemical Reactions (brief introduction to chemical reactions and a homemade bouncy ball demo; each participant then makes flubber, while wearing lab coats and safety glasses), Marble Rollercoasters (brief introduction to conservation of energy; each group constructs their own rollercoaster out of pipe insulation, wooden dowels and other materials experimenting with different designs to keep their marble on track), and Bristlebots (introduction circuits and electricity; using a toothbrush head, a battery and a few wires, girls create a bristlebot which glides along the table – similar to a hex bug). At the end there is a wrap up presentation, lunch and gift bags, as well as a short survey.

Junior FIRST Lego League (with GSNENY)

RPI SWE created a Junior FIRST Lego League team with GSNENY providing four mentors to assist in weekly meetings starting in October 2011 leading up to the competition in December 2011. The girls begin by researching a product that they could build for the competition. After voting on a final product, the mentors coach the girls through a few Lego kits such as a motorized car and windmill. After putting together a few kits, the last weeks are spent preparing a design for the competition and a poster board showing their process. In the past, our team has taken home the “Best Team Spirit” award. We plan to continue working with GSNENY to mentor teams in the future.

Electrical Inventions

RPI SWE's Electrical Inventions will introduce 12 middle school girls to electrical engineering with a new 6-week hands-on course in which each participant will build one of three different projects: a light up LED Frisbee, a bedroom security system, or an electric fortune teller box. The hands-on experience will help them to learn key concepts of electrical engineering, technical skills related to the field, and circuitry skills. This program is meant to stimulate middle school girls to develop an interest in engineering and consider a future in engineering.


Outreach with Microsoft-Digigirlz Day

RPI SWE sent two volunteers to Digigirlz Day to speak to participants during lunch about why they chose to study engineering. Digigirlz Day is a one day event to expose high school girls to careers in technology by allowing them to interact with Microsoft employees and managers. 

SAGE Science Discovery Day

A Saturday in April in which 3 RPI SWE volunteers will travel to the Shenendehowa Middle School. Last year’s demo was Liquid Nitrogen. Participants learn about liquid nitrogen's applications in science and how it changes the properties of certain objects such as roses, coins and bouncy balls. Last year’s attendance was approximately 1200.