(Scroll down to see images from the events described in this article.)
Kids in Engineering Day
Student volunteers from across the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Engineering worked to ensure that middle school-kids from around the greater Birmingham area had a blast during the 2020 Kids in Engineering Day (KIED) hosted on February 15, 2020 and February 22, 2020.
The 2020 KIED event saw 89 community participants along with 53 UAB volunteers (organized by UAB SWE, Society for Women Engineers). Utilizing a theme of “Engineering Island”, participants got hands-on experience in STEM activities learning “survival skills” across the engineering disciplines of biomedical, civil, electrical, materials, and mechanical. Participants learned about the theory of freezing point depression and how salt alters it in water. In civil engineering, they learned what shapes can make a weak material stronger while in materials engineering, they discovered what it meant for something to be waterproof. They also learned how to communicate in Morse code and how to build a boat that would float.
“We believe it is very important to introduce STEM ideas and activities to kids at an early age,” said Emma Schmidt, SWE’s president. “We want all kids to understand that there are practical applications that come from the math and science they learn in school. We also want to create an environment for kids to be hands-on and have the chance to try new things. We want all kids to have confidence in their ability in STEM fields, but it’s especially important for girls and other groups who are traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering.”