The 10th anniversary Young Women in Science and Engineering workshops

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Young Women in Science and Engineering workshops. Photo provided

ACWORTH, N.H. – Northern Heritage Mills, a nonprofit educational organization in Acworth, N.H., recently held workshops designed for young women of southern Vermont and New Hampshire to encourage appreciation of science, engineering, and technology.

Twenty-five architects, scientists, technology specialists, and engineers collaborated and conducted specialized hands-on STEM workshops for 95 young women in grades 7-10. Students had a very rare opportunity to have one-on-one learning experiences with sophisticated professionals. The director of engineering from Liberty Utilities and four engineers traveled 100 miles from Salem, N.H. to participate as well as TIA architects from Amherst, Mass., Gates Marine Engineering from Nashua, N.H., Eversource Engineers from Manchester, N.H., and others from Hanover, N.H. and Norwich, Vt.

This special event focused on technology and energy workshops, which becomes the basis and introduction for the science aerospace engineering video that will be filmed at the U.S. National Park Service in Cornish, N.H. next summer.

All the women engineers and scientists expressed their sincere interest to assist young women to consider STEM educational directions that many did not have when they were young. Each engineer was assigned nine students in each of the technology workshops for the day, which allowed the students to have personal access to their expertise. Additionally, the students in each problem-solving group were able to have direct feedback and guidance from the engineers regarding their collaboration, design, construction, and subsequent testing of their particular technology project.

The workshops included:

  • “Electrical Distribution System” and how it is distributed throughout the United States;
  • “Electrical Circuits” where students made models of jet aircraft with 3-D printed parts, sophisticated high-tech strobe wing lighting, and solar cells;
  • “Solar Electricity” had students assemble model solar cars;
  • “Architecture and Energy” taught students how to design a sustainable fossil-free energy house;
  • “Physics and Sail Boats” had students learning how to design and construct model sailboats;
  • “Biomedical Technology” had students simulate high-tech temperature sensing that provides medical practitioners skills needed for high-quality and personal patient care;
  • “Forensic Science” had students solve crime scenes;
  • “Science and Electrical Engineering” introduced the students to electrical circuitry, LEDs, and what makes electricity work;
  • “Video Development Engineering and Science” taught students how to look at a scene, frame a composition, and outline the components of a successful video.

Exit surveys from students overwhelmingly supported Heritage Mills’ science and engineering hands-on workshops. Leaders repeatedly said more hands-on, relevant, understandable, and creative workshops are important to explain STEM principals. To retain student interest, a follow up program in December will include workshop information and a collage of photos of the participants. For more information, email nheritagemils@yahoo.com.

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