Friday, October 19, 2012

Field Trip!

Wow! What an amazing experience my students were provided with today! Since I left UNH at the end of the summer and went back to the classroom Andrew, my mentor and I, have been planning a field trip for my students to attend the Automotive User Interfaces Conference in Portsmouth, NH of which he was General Chair.

Students view posters at conference.
The first time I met Andrew we had a very rich discussion about women in engineering.  As I was preparing to head back to Allenstown at the end of the summer he came to me with an idea...what if my female students could attend the conference and meet some female role models in engineering?  I told him I thought it was an excellent idea!  Many times this summer the teachers in the RETE program along with the mentors and graduate students would brainstorm about how we could get students excited about STEM careers.  When brainstorming it was inevitable that awareness of these careers was a key point which was made.  We talked about how much of the time someone with a STEM career will express that they had a family member or someone who was close to them has a STEM career.  So needless to say I thought it would be wonderful for my female students to be exposed to a role model in the field of engineering.

Students speak with engineers about their jobs.
At the conference students were able to experience a one minute madness, which is when people who are presenting posters have one minute to sell their idea and convince you to visit their poster.  Following that students were able to view posters and speak with the engineers about their ideas.  Finally, students had a wonderful opportunity to speak with three women engineers about their job.
Students were interested in things such as: Do you enjoy your job?  What exactly do you do?  Does being an engineer effect your social life?  Who were your role models?  What made you decide to be an engineer?  What age were you when you decided to be an engineer?  And much more...  As questions were answered you could see the excitement grow in my students.  It was exhilarating for me to see the interest in my students!  A wonderful day all around!

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