SWE Pune Affiliate’s Student Outreach During COVID-19 Confinement

SWE Pune Affiliate—the first affiliate in India— just completed five years, commemorating the anniversary with celebration events in the months of July and August. With a power-packed opening keynote speech by Leena Nair (CHRO at Unilever), followed by a live panel discussion on “Workforce of the Future,” the celebrations concluded with a closing keynote by Jo Miller on “Attracting the Advocacy of Influential Sponsors.” Every year, with the support of corporate sponsors, SWE Pune Affiliate’s Student Outreach Committee conducts “WOW! That’s Engineering” (WTE)—a STEM workshop for schoolgirls to introduce and mentor girls about engineering.

It’s the year 2020 and we are all together in the COVID pandemic. Every year we plan WTE events during the month of June. However, due to the pandemic mitigation guidelines, neither school campuses nor corporate campuses are open to host the event. Hence, we had to go ahead with an online workshop for the students. Though we had been conducting this workshop for the last seven years, we were inexperienced when it came to the ‘how’ of hosting an online workshop for the students.

We partnered with SkySciQ Educational Events and Anoobhuti Learning Solutions who created a program for an online workshop. SkySciQ partners, Mohan Poojary and Deepti Poojary, coordinated with authorities and students from 9th and 10th standard of Maharshi Karve Stri Shikshan Sanstha. Anoobhuti Learning Solutions partner, Narendra Godse, and his team helped facilitate the workshop which was conducted by Prachi Chandrachud who is a physics professor at Pune University. All the preparations were in order two weeks prior to our virtual event. The team had shared a list of materials (easily available at home) for the various experiments they would be doing.

The day of the event—1st August, 2020

The event was attended by 72 participants joining in and a short address by Deepti Poojary who is the founder of SkySciQ Educational Events followed by an introduction of the SWE mission and efforts in India. Sixty-six students from Maharishi Karve Stree Shikshan Sanstha joined the Zoom video call. The students were well-versed with the online mechanism of teaching due to the classes at school now being conducted online. Professor Prachi conducted the following experiments for a fun and easy understanding of science:

  • Total internal reflection
    • Using a glass bowl and laser to explain the application of fiber optics
  • Walking water
    • Using colored water and tissue paper to explain the application of capillary action
  • Refraction
    • With an arrow on paper/coin with a glass of water
  • Pressure
    • Using two bottles of different heights and water falling out of it at different heights to explain the application of dam water and building tanks
  • Sound Waves
    •  Singing wine glass

After conducting these experiments with the students online over a zoom call we had a round of interactions and questions by the students with the SWE Pune affiliate members. Students curiously asked questions on the different engineering disciplines and were motivated by the overall energy of the event. The afternoon concluded with Rupali Patil, SWE Pune Affiliate president, addressing the students. She encouraged the students to achieve tasks by creating and working in a team.

The SWE Pune Affiliate team also learned a lot by conducting this event. The SWE Pune Affiliate expresses gratitude to SkySciQ & Anoobhuti Learning Solutions for their participation and support.

SWE Pune virtual outreach event
Refraction, ‘walking water’ and pressure experiments during the online workshop

A handwritten letter was sent by the principal of Mahilashram High School Uma Joshi thanking the team for creating this workshop for their students.

Handwritten letter to school of Pune virtual outreach event


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Author(s) Information

  • SWE Pune Affiliate's Student Outreach During COVID-19 Confinement SWE Pune Affiliate Shruti Khalwadekar

    Shruti Khalwadekar has served as SWE Global Ambassador for FY 18-19 and is currently serving SWE Pune Affiliate as the School Outreach Lead since FY19. Shruti works as a Senior Engineer at John Deere Technology Center in Pune, India.

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