Nitsch Engineering, Inc., a Boston-based engineering firm, hosted its 10th annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day on March 29, 2011. Titled “Improving the World with Robotics,” this year’s program educated 96 6th to 12th grade girls about the growing world of robotics engineering. Co-sponsored by the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Robotics Resource Center and Dana Hall School, this year’s event was the largest Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day event that Nitsch Engineering has hosted.
“We are so thrilled that our 10th annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day was our largest event to date,” said Nitsch Engineering Principal Judith Nitsch, PE, LEED AP BD+C. “Since 2001, our goal has been to show girls, in a supportive and enthusiastic atmosphere, that engineering is a fun and rewarding career. I am hopeful that the growth of our event represents an increased interest in engineering among young women … and I hope that next year’s event is even larger!”
At the event, the girls were greeted at the entrance to Dana Hall School’s Shipley Center by a VGo (www.vgocom.com) communications robot, then proceeded to an icebreaking activity that introduced them to different types of robots. Ms. Nitsch and Nina Saberi, a mechanical engineer and the founding VC and executive chair at VGo, then spoke about the field of robotics and women in engineering. The girls split into groups to participate in interactive demonstrations with three different types of robots: a humanoid robot, a programmable LEGO robotic vehicle, and the world-champion FIRST Robotics robot. Meanwhile, the parents and teachers who accompanied the girls attended a seminar on the college admissions process led by WPI Vice President Kristin Tichenor.
The day culminated with a panel discussion about working as an engineer. Moderated by Michelle DiBenedetto, EIT, LEED AP BD+C, a Project Designer at Nitsch Engineering, the panel included perspectives from four females that work in the robotics field: Sonia Chernova, Assistant Professor in the Robotics Engineering Program, WPI; Colleen Shaver, Assistant Director, WPI Robotics Resource Center; Kara Greenfield, a Mathematics and Computer Science major at WPI; and Elizabeth De Zulueta, a Robotics Engineering major at WPI.
About Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day
Started by the National Society of Professional Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, and IBM in 2001, Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day aims to increase interest in math and science among girls. Now organized by the National Engineers Week Foundation (http://www.eweek.org), Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day has become a global event, reaching over one million young women each year.