SWE sections have three chances to win $1,000 for their outreach efforts in the WOW! Innovation Challenge in 2019. The winner of our second challenge, below, is SWE University of Illinois at Chicago (SWE UIC).
Congratulations, SWE UIC!
STEM and STEAM outreach are essential programs to guarantee the successful continuation and advancement of science and engineering. Quite a few of such programs entice high school and college students with interactive demos and experiences, though many of these students may have already chosen their desired career paths. For this challenge, we are interested in how your section engages elementary school (K-6) students. Do you host outreach events specifically geared toward K-6? Do you send section members to elementary schools/classrooms with demos? Does your section sponsor/work with a SWENext club? How do you get them involved?
SWE UIC’s “Mom, Me & SWE” event:
The UIC SWE section engages K-6 students in STEM through many outreach events designed to encourage diversity and present strong role models. Their challenge submission focused on their Mom, Me & SWE event that reaches 5th-8th grade girls from various schools around Chicago and the suburbs.
Students and their mom or guardian are invited to participate in an all-morning event that consists of fun, hands-on activities related to exciting, real-word projects. Forty students and their parents participate in this free program each semester. Check out their slide presentation for more information.
The UIC SWE section also partners with other organizations to further encourage diversity in engineering. This includes inviting other engineering student organizations to present their current projects. UIC’s winning submission has great suggestions and tips for promoting STEM amongst K-6 students.
Members of the section are very active within their group. From professional development to outreach, members from all engineering backgrounds participate in all sorts of activities. The section has graduate school membership as well, leading to interesting information panels within the section itself.
Here are a few tips from SWE UIC on getting—and keeping!— young students involved in STEM:
- Host an outreach program. Choose a few engineering majors to focus on, and design fun activities. Check out SWE UIC’s youtube channel for some inspiration.
- Connect with other organizations. Partnering with like-minded organizations is another way to participate in outreach. SWENext is a great way to partner with high school SWE sections.
- Stay connected with social media. 45% of 10-12 year olds have phones. Having a social media presence online allows your section to reach a wide audience. Be sure to post information about upcoming events as well as current activities of your section!
Once again, congratulations to SWE University of Illinois at Chicago! We hope the $1000 award will help further your outreach efforts!
Want to win $1,000 for your SWE section? Check out challenge #3!
Collegiate SWE members can have a difficult time juggling classes, jobs/internships, and extracurricular commitments while professional members tackle the constant push and pull of work-life balance. This can make it difficult for members to consistently find the time and energy to volunteer for outreach events. Tell us how your SWE section encourages volunteers to comeback and avoid “burn-out” to maintain outreach volunteer engagement. We are looking for what type of programs or incentives are in place to keep the outreach spark alive. How do you foster an exciting and inclusive volunteering environment? How do you accommodate volunteers’ commitments to other activities? You are encouraged to include tangible materials in your submission.