October 27, 2011

More than 500 girls in grades five through eight visited Patrick F. Taylor Hall recently to explore the world of engineering for the Sally Ride Science Festival presented by Exxon Mobil Corp. The festival is a day of hands-on activities and discovery workshops related to science and engineering. 

Student and industry members of IEEE, a professional society for industrial and electrical engineers, and John Scalzo, instructor and undergraduate advisor, LSU College of Engineering, assisted with the day’s festivities alongside more than 100 volunteers. 

The Festival atmosphere included tents lining the parking lot, which housed science workshops providing participants with hands-on lessons. The outdoor street fair included a booth that officers and members of the LSU IEEE student branch prepared. 

The booth included a variety of experiments, devices and instruments. Many of the girls had the opportunity to work with some of the typical electronic devices electrical and computer engineers design and use.

Scalzo, with the help of IEEE student volunteers, presented a hands-on workshop demonstrating different energy conversion circuits. Approximately 40 middle school girls participated in the workshop.

Keynote speaker and former NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence, who wore a blue flight suit, talked about her engineering career and journeys into space. She stressed the importance of doing well in school so students have opportunities to pursue engineering and STEM related careers.

According to the American Association of Engineering Societies Engineering Workforce Commission, women represented less than 20 percent of students who earned bachelor’s degrees in engineering in 2010. Similarly, African Americans and Hispanic Americans represented less than 15 percent of students who earned bachelor’s degrees in engineering in the same year.   

By hosting the festival and other outreach efforts for K-12 students, LSU and the College of Engineering are helping to educate students about the opportunities that science and engineering can provide.

CoE student participants included: Andy Nguyen, Amelia Simpson, Michael Weber, Jason Toms and Katherine Blackburn. Jeffry Handal was the IEEE professional participant. 

For more information on College of Engineering and its outreach efforts, click here.

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For more information, contact Cassie Arceneaux, College of Engineering, carcen6@lsu.edu or (225) 578-0092.



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