As a cornerstone of its celebration of National Engineers Week, NYIT’s School of Engineering and Computing Sciences hosted its “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” event on Feb. 26 for the second straight year on both its Old Westbury and Manhattan campuses.
National Engineers Week, founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers, celebrates the extraordinary accomplishments of engineering professionals everywhere and is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology-related careers.
In proud support of this mission, the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences showcased the success and accomplishments of its students, faculty, and alumni through this special event hosted for middle- and high school girls to increase their awareness about and pique their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. The ultimate goal is to encourage girls to consider careers in engineering and computer science.
“The demand for engineers, computer scientists, and others in STEM fields in the United States is far greater than the current supply,” explained Nada Marie Anid, Ph.D., NYIT’s first female dean of the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences. NYIT is committed to helping build the pipeline for STEM students and professionals, she noted, and cited the effectiveness of providing role models for girls as well as “hands-on access to technology” to entice them to enter and stay in engineering and related fields.
Keynote speakers provided excellent role models for the day’s events. In Old Westbury, Barbara Porter, an NYIT alumna and chief technology officer at FragranceNet.com, encouraged the girls to follow their passion and to take advantage of the huge growth opportunities that await them in computer science and related fields, in which women today are underrepresented.
Nearly 300 people attended the two events, comprising the girls, teachers, administrators, parents, and others from middle and high schools in New York City, Nassau and Suffolk counties, and organizations such as Girls Scouts and Girls Inc.
The event also celebrated NYIT’s engineering students who planned and led a number of interactive hands-on demonstrations for the more than 180 attendees in Old Westbury. These included demonstrations on flying drones, Nao humanoid robots, coding, and making ice smoothies via human-operated bike blender. On the Manhattan campus, NYIT engineering students led the more than 100 attendees in coding, basic mechanics, drawing with a robot, a “sink the boat” experiment by Shay Saleem, Coordinator of GOALS for Girls at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, and more.
Porter commented, “I was thrilled to see the enthusiasm in the young faces in the audience, and see that enthusiasm turn to curiosity and delight as they got to experience the demonstrations first hand. Watching the girls pilot the hovercraft, interact with the robots, learn how to code on the bank of laptops, and see 3D printing in real time was inspiring as I know some hearts and minds were impacted.”
How did the girls respond? “I want to study computer sciences and development. Everything is in need of constant updating, and I want to be a part of improving that technology,” said Matilda Grollo, 12, an attendee in Manhattan from the Dwight School. Another attendee noted, “I feel like I was educated on more job opportunities than I even knew came out of engineering.”
NYIT Communications + Marketing intern Stephanie Miller contributed reporting to this story.