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* Rensselaer Hosts “Exploring Engineering Day” for Local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts

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Rensselaer Hosts “Exploring Engineering Day” for Local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts
In celebration of National Engineers Week, Rensselaer hosted a day of hands-on engineering activities on Feb. 21 for 280 area Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. The program was coordinated by Rensselaer’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) organization in collaboration with several undergraduate and graduate engineering students.

“Exploring Engineering Day activities are designed to spark young children’s interest in science and technology, and encourage them to consider pursuing careers in engineering,” said Barbara Ruel, director of Rensselaer’s Women in Engineering programs and program director for Exploring Engineering Day. “Over the past eight years, the program has increased in both size and diversity. This year, children participated in a variety of hands-on activities that covered a wide range of disciplines, including aeronautical, biomedical, chemical, civil, electro-mechanical, environmental, and materials engineering.”

Featured activities included “Egg-citing Egg Drop,” during which participants used ordinary household supplies to create a device to keep an egg from cracking; “Sublime Slime,” during which participants created slime using the principles of materials science; “Yummy Gummy Bridges,” during which students played the role of a civil engineer and built gum drop bridges; and “Hydromania,” during which participants used the engineering design process to construct and test water filters, among others.

SWE members Lisa Muscanell, a senior majoring in environmental engineering, and Rachel Ferebee, a sophomore majoring in materials engineering, led the planning for this year’s event. Additional Rensselaer groups involved in delivering the sessions included the National Society of Black Engineers, the Rensselaer chapter of Tau Beta Pi, an engineering honor society, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the ChemE Car group, and Melissa Hershey ’05 from the Center for Initiatives in Pre-College Education (CIPCE), as well as graduate students from the environmental engineering and materials science and engineering academic departments.

Exploring Engineering Day is part of Rensselaer’s efforts to engage children in science and engineering studies and professions. Other pipeline programs include: Design Your Future Day, to engage young girls in science and engineering studies and professions; and Rensselaer’s Molecularium™ project, to teach young children about the smallest forms of matter.
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 3, Number 3, March 13, 2009
©2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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