Vannevar Bush reminded us in As We May Think that by working together we overcame the greatest challenges. Collaboration is key and working across fields is how it is accomplished.
I attended the Society of Women Engineers 2012 conference last week. We are beginning to develop our youth programming at the museum and anyone who knows SWE knows that K-12 programming is a high priority. My goal was to interact with as many K-12 resources as possible and interact with the executive leadership. The current members of the Over the Hill Suite have overseen the organization as it developed from an organization that hosted a conference of 2,000 to a conference of 6,400: over doubled in size in 10 years. You have to be able to pick up a few tips from these ladies – accomplished in their own careers and leading this diversity driven organization in their spare time.
This year, I helped organize the vendor expo for the Invent it. Build it. event, an all day hands-on activity event for middle school girls and their parents and educators. The event is held at the location of the conference every year. The vendor expo is the portion of the day that exposes the girls to local engineering based organizations. For instance, FIRST, an annual robot building challenge, brought last year’s creations and challenged the girls to drive a robot, NAVSEA brought mini-submarines and had the girls test the amount of weights it took to counter buoyancy Instead of having set activities like the rest of the day, at the vendor expo the girls can choose which projects to work. It effectively appealed to their sense of independence. Here’s the local press:
My favorite vendor was SciGirls from PBS. If I can get a local engineer to volunteer to run a project, I’m going to have them film a session at the museum. The representative I talked to listened to the story of the museum with rapt attention. At least we know we’ve caught their ear.