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A Bridge To High School Girls: A Versatile Recruiting Tool

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.4.1 - 6.4.7



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Paper Authors

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Jr., Edward Evans

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Richard B. Englund

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High school girls are bombarded by counselors and others, encouraging them to consider careers in science and engineering. We feel that encouragement is of greatest value with a sampling of the career; therefore we designed and built a 16-foot long wood and steel bridge to enhance a recent recruitment session. The girls in the session were introduced to structural topics, then they assembled the bridge and were able to cross it at the completion of the session. The bridge was the focus of the session, in lecture as well as hands-on, as an example of the types of work performed by engineering technologists. The bridge proved itself a suitable introduction and recruiting example, and indeed the girls were excited by the project and a possible career in engineering technology. At the end of the session the bridge was disassembled and stored for future use. The material cost for the bridge was small, although significant time was spent in fabrication. The bridge can be readied for other recruiting sessions in less than thirty minutes. A set of alternative uses for the same bridge has been identified, most unrelated to recruiting, but significant enough in utility to suggest that such a bridge should be constructed even if never used for recruiting. This project arose from a Mechanical Engineering Technology program, and this paper is specific to an MET program. Identified non-recruiting uses are varied enough to be broadly applicable to many programs in similar ways. The bridge has been used for demonstrations and assignments in statics, instrumentation, and computer courses, and may be used in strength of materials and manufacturing courses. The bridge is a physical object, so unlike textbook examples, the effect of manufacturing variations can be visibly demonstrated. The bridge is also large enough that teamwork is required to handle the parts and to physically assemble the bridge. The number of parts in the bridge can also require teamwork for assignments in design, manufacture, or analysis. The specifications and chosen design for the bridge are detailed in this paper. An outline of the recruiting session presentation is provided with comments based on our experience with this presentation. Suggestions are provided for others who desire a similar recruiting object other than a bridge. The versatility of this bridge for classroom demonstrations, assignments, and projects is tremendous, and a selection of possible uses are described in this paper.

Evans, J. E., & Englund, R. B. (2001, June), A Bridge To High School Girls: A Versatile Recruiting Tool Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--8961

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