An Update from WOW! Innovation Challenge Winners SWE-ECI!

SWE-ECI leadership shares how they’ve used the funds from the WOW! Innovation Challenge to produce two incredible K-12 outreach events - Junior Girl Scouts Day and the Iowa City Parks and Rec Halloween Carnival.
An Update from WOW! Innovation Challenge Winners SWE-ECI! - WOW

For the 2021 WOW! Innovation Challenge, SWE professional and collegiate sections created videos to show off their section’s personality and recruit students and early career professionals. Since winning the challenge, SWE-ECI has been able to connect more with their students, grow their leadership skills and make an impact in their community. Learn more about their section and their two outreach events Junior Girl Scouts Day and the Iowa City Parks and Rec Halloween Carnival.

An Update from WOW! Innovation Challenge Winners SWE-ECI! -

SWE-ECI was founded in 2001 and has served as a resource for women engineers in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Corridor to network, volunteer, and grow together. Our current core board plans monthly events for our growing group of over 300 members!  We put a strong emphasis on bringing STEM awareness to the next generations through our K-12 outreach events.  Additionally, our section won the 2020 Society of Women Engineers Bronze Mission Award for Professional Development.

Our section was honored to win the WOW! Innovation Challenge Award and we used the funds on two of our K-12 Outreach Events in 2021 – Junior Girl Scouts Day and the Iowa City Parks and Rec Halloween Carnival.

For Junior Girl Scouts Day, half a dozen junior Girl Scouts had the chance to get messy and creative about cars! They learned about design, requirements, materials and most importantly, that it is okay to fail and restart. The girls made play dough from scratch to create vehicles of the future (note for you mechanical engineers, almost all were flying!). They also made delicious asphalt: M&M rock, oat pebbles and chocolate to bind amongst other yummy items. Finally, the girls were challenged to make rubber band cars, which needed weight and some creative substitutes to wind up. As a part of this program, we also were able to reach out to parents to share the skills obtained in engineering and get them excited about SWENext.

For the Iowa City Parks and Rec Halloween Carnival, we had a great time volunteering on Friday October 29th. We provided supplies and hands-on instruction for a STEM activity to make Harry Potter Wands with popsicle sticks, copper tape, an LED light bulb and battery. It was a great opportunity to educate and show young children how circuits work! Our booth was nonstop for the entire event – with over 300 kids and parents loving the activity! Check out the event photos below.

If your SWE section is producing outreach events, don’t forget to report your event to SWE’s Outreach Metric Tool (OMT)! The OMT is a survey that reports STEM outreach events for K-12 students, or their adult advocates (parents, educators, etc.). The data you enter will be used internally by the Outreach Committee to set goals and make strategic decisions, and will be shared with sponsors to show the impact of SWE members’ outreach. In this way, the OMT contributes to additional funding opportunities and recognition for each section that recruits SWENexters.

Congrats again to ECI-SWE, and the other winning sections Drexel University SWE, SWE Central Illinois, and SWE Colorado School of Mines. Thanks for your hard work inspiring the next generation of engineers!

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