November 09, 2021
Thanks to Mizzou Engineering’s Society of Women Engineers, local Girl Scout troops got the chance to learn about what it means to be an engineer. Directors of outreach, Natalie Camilleri and Rosalie Garzia, planned the event that took place on Saturday, Oct. 30, and featured STEM activities and presentations for the young girls.
“They loved getting to do the fun crafts, because science really is fun,” said Garzia, a sophomore in biomedical engineering. “I think getting to experience the magic of science was great for them.”
The event began with a presentation from female chemical engineers about their roles with the sponsoring company, Honeywell. Then, the girls participated in four activities from four different areas of engineering.
For electrical engineering, they made tissue paper butterflies and used a balloon to create static electricity to make the butterflies “fly.” The troops made lava lamps with oil, water, food coloring and Alka Seltzer to learn about density and polarity for chemical engineering.
To learn about mechanical engineering, the girls participated in an egg-drop challenge, where they worked in teams to build a protective cage for their egg using a plastic cup, tape, a plastic bag and washcloths. The eggs were dropped from over 20 feet to test the effectiveness of each group’s cage.
Finally, they practiced their civil engineering skills by working in teams to create the tallest structure using dry spaghetti noodles and marshmallows.
“I think a lot of schools teach science and math in a black or white way, so you either got the answer right or wrong,” said Garzia. “Whereas with engineering, you get to come up with your own ideas, and you get to be creative.”
During their lunch break, the troops enjoyed a presentation from Mizzou SURF, the Students’ Underwater Robotics Foundation. The student organization showed the girls the marine robot they designed and manufactured.
At the end of the day, the girls shared their favorite activity and one girl answered, “All of them, because now I want to be an engineer.”
“A lot of the kids don’t get that many opportunities to explore engineering in the classroom,” said Camilleri, a junior in industrial engineering. “Even if they don’t like math and science, it’s good to give them the opportunity to see what engineering is.”