We Can Do It!
By Courtney Kohler and Kelly Oswald
Tekna participated in the 6th Annual Corporate Engineering Challenge at the Air Zoo this past weekend, and it was a huge success! The event, sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers, aimed to expose girls ages 9-12 to engineering and science-related activities. Nearly 200 girls participated in the challenge and hundreds of members of the public joined in on the fun. Many of our employees across multiple departments volunteered and showed their support for promoting design and engineering education. We had had a blast interacting with the kids and perhaps recruiting a future member of the Tekna team?!
Our design station at the event introduced the girls to the upfront stages of product design — ideation and sketching. We asked the little designers to develop their “ultimate snow day product.” With first-hand exposure to design terminology and the engineering design process, they made key decisions about their inventions’ features (product name, materials used, etc.). After the product brainstorm, it was time to bring their ideas to life with detailed sketches. From snowball launchers, to sled rockets, to toboggan hill builders, these kids got creative! Later in the day, our very own Krista Grotelueschen represented Tekna on the employer panel and answered many of the girls’ questions about STEM-related jobs.
We have been happy to see an increased focus on boosting the number of women in STEM fields in recent years. However, women still remain greatly underrepresented. Getting girls involved in engineering activities at a young age is critical to instilling a lifelong passion. For some, it can be an issue of confidence, where persisting stereotypes (e.g., that boys are better at math and science) cause girls to shy away from exploring these topics. So how can you help make a difference? For starters, check out this list of 10 ways to encourage your daughter to become an engineer or scientist…and be sure to get involved in next year’s Corporate Engineering Challenge — we’ll see you there!