Being in college is a completely new experience, and it’s easy to feel like you’re living in a bubble. You’re surrounded by your peers constantly, and you’re spending the majority of your time on campus. I knew that I wanted to be able to give back to the community, and the Society of Women Engineers is an excellent organization for community events!
I volunteered for SWE’s Engineering is SWEet spring community event, which brought elementary school girls and their families to campus. We had several workshops set up for them, such as a Rube Goldberg Machine workshop, and LED Throwies workshop, and an Algorithms workshop. I was part of the LED throwies workshop, and we explained how LEDs worked and how they could turn the LEDs on by simply touching the leads to a battery. To make it fun for the girls, we had them tape magnets to their (now bright and glowing) LEDs, we drew a bullseye on the chalkboard, and we played a game with parents versus kids! It was such a rewarding experience to see such young girls already expressing an interest in engineering, and taking the time out of their Saturday mornings to come learn and have fun at USC.
However, SWE doesn’t just create events for elementary school girls! There was also a High School Conference, which brought in girls in high school who had never been exposed to physics before. So, we set up tables in the Viterbi E-quad and started the morning by teach basic physics concepts such as kinetic energy, potential energy, and centripetal force. After lunch, we had them build rollercoasters using the principles they learned earlier. Since these were older girls, we took them to a variety of different Viterbi student organizations to tour the labs, such as the Rocket Propulsion Lab, the USC Racing shop, and the 3D printing pad. I got to take a group of girls over to USC Racing, and it was awesome to see their interest in an organization that I love!
Overall, it was amazing to see how enthusiastic the girls were, and it was really inspiring for me to see the huge amount of interest they all displayed. I really love how these SWE event exposed these girls to engineering and problem-solving concepts at such an early age.
So many organizations in Viterbi focus on giving back and encouraging students who live around USC to become more interested in engineering! It’s a wonderful experience, and it’s a great way to apply what you’ve learned in class to help others. Events that involve using engineering to give back to the community makes engineering even more interesting and fun!
Here is a video that shows a summary of the SWE community events for this semester! Enjoy!