Our annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering event is a chance for us to invite Sophia Academy into our office space for a day of fun. We begin with a presentation about some of the tasks that engineers do at our company, and give the students a tour of our facility. The tour, especially through the machine shop and project gallery, is always a huge hit! Sophia Academy is an incredible charter middle school for girls from low income homes, so I connected with their faculty to plan two annual events with the school and to coordinate many Ximedica employees joining their existing mentoring program.
For this year, my group of volunteers and I decided to ask the students to design chairs...out of newspaper! It's fun to empower kids to create with supplies they can easily find at home. We gave them an introduction to how we might approach this challenge, and then gave them a few hours to prototype. We stress that this is a first iteration of their design, so failure is critical to help with the next design. This activity was easy to understand but had a lot of room for creativity. I found that most students were empowered to feel confident contributing to the design and fabrication of their chairs.