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Exploring Engineering Day

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.616.1 - 10.616.11



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Paper Authors

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Laura Jones

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Karen Berger

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Tamara Knott

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Exploring Engineering Day

K. T. Berger1, L. L. Jones1, T. W. Knott2 1 Society of Women Engineers - Virginia Tech/ 2 Department of Engineering Education Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Each year, approximately 65 teams of 9-14 year-old elementary and secondary school students from throughout Virginia qualify to participate in the First Lego League (FLL) state tournament held at Virginia Tech. Teams typically arrive in Blacksburg the day before the competition. Although in past years teams have had the opportunity to tour facilities at Virginia Tech during their stay, there has long been a desire among the coaches and mentors to have the students participate in an activity more directly related to engineering. This December the Virginia Tech student section of the Society of Women Engineers (VT-SWE) provided the opportunity for the students to participate in a hands-on engineering program, Exploring Engineering Day.

Attendance at the Exploring Engineering Day was expected to be more than 320, with 15 SWE members and an additional 10 non-SWE members as volunteers. Over the course of the afternoon event participants visited four engineering activity stations, highlighting Aerospace Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Ocean Engineering, emphasizing the major engineering concepts of problem solving and teamwork. Exploring Engineering Day aimed to promote engineering as a stimulating, exciting, and rewarding field of study as well as to dispel the idea that engineers must wear hard hats or work on trains. It was also our goal to have the children see that engineering is not just for men but to show the young women that they too can pursue a career in the fields in engineering, math, and science.

Previous experience has indicated that educational outreach events such as Exploring Engineering day benefit not only the participants but also the volunteers involved in the project. This paper provides details of the organization, planning and implementation of the event, as well as an analysis of the benefits to the participants, volunteers, and the university.


First Lego League (FLL)1 is an international program for 9-14 year olds designed to foster a positive view of science and technology through creative problem solving in a team-based competition. More than 45,000 students worldwide participated in the program in 2003. In 2004, in the state of Virginia alone, there were over 200 registered teams of up to ten children

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Jones, L., & Berger, K., & Knott, T. (2005, June), Exploring Engineering Day Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14653

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