National Engineers Week was founded in 1951 by the National Society of Engineers. At that time, women engineers were rare and seen as bucking conventional gender norms. Today, that perception is outdated and disproved by the numbers, yet there is a still a wide gap between the number of male and female engineers. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics only about 13 percent of engineers in the U.S. are women.
Although much progress has been made, it is still now more important than ever to encourage young women to take an interest in pursuing a career in engineering.
As part of the National Engineers Week initiative, a handful of LAN women engineers celebrated “National Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day,” which encourages young women to pursue engineering careers.
This year, LAN Associates decided to do our part to help shift the statistics in the right direction. LAN hosted a local, Ramsey based Girl Scout troop to introduce young women to what engineering means at LAN. The event included an engineering design activity named the “penny boat” challenge. This event was aimed at capturing these bright young women’s interest in engineering and teaching them some basic principles of the discipline.
The “penny boat” challenge focuses on building a boat with a set of given materials such as paper, foil, tape, and cardboard. The goal is to see who can build a boat that can hold the most pennies before sinking. This simple exercise combines critical thinking with mathematical and scientific principals vital to engineering. Participants learn the basic concepts behind the engineering design process and the scientific principles that allow some designs to succeed and others to fail.
To check out the event recap watch the video below: