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Fueling STEM passion of Young Minds in India

SWE Global Ambassador Sameera Shaikh in India explains how she conducted 'Wow! That’s Engineering!’ a STEM event for young girls to expand the image of engineering & other related fields to build their vision for pursuing a career in engineering & technology.
Fueling STEM passion of Young Minds -

At SWE we always believe and appreciate the inquisitiveness and quest of young minds which propel
them to limitless learning that can change their entire world. It’s prudent to introduce such students to
STEM field as they are about to be at the inflection point for early career choices. SWE FY22
ambassador Sameera Shaikh visited National Urdu High School Solapur to conduct a STEM event –
Wow! That’s Engineering on December 11th, 2021.

National Urdu High School, a government-aided school in Solapur Maharashtra, India, welcomed SWE to
conduct a STEM event for 50 girl students in grade 9 and 10. This is the first ever event of SWE in the
city where students were introduced to SWE organization & its endeavor across the globe which was
very well appreciated by school staff & students. It was heartening to see reach of SWE India slowly
permeating to remote & new areas in the subcontinent with efforts of Ambassador.

The event resonated the Ambassador’s passion to inspire the new generation of female students on building tech-savvy thinking and to overcome the fear and misconceptions about Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics related field. Even in times of pandemic, the entire team executed the event exceptionally with safety protocols. Students’ enthusiasm and inquisitiveness was exceptionally high as they were participating in a group event after a long gap of over a year, and on top of that this was a unique event for them.

School teacher, Mr. Mubeen Bijapure welcomed the SWE team, School Managing committee, Chief Guests & other
participants. This was followed by beautiful welcome songs sung by school students. Sameera Shaikh, SWE’s FY22 Ambassador, motivated students by sharing inspirational stories of women from different professions and backgrounds followed by an overview of SWE. She emphasized on how a career in engineering empowers women and develops oneself professionally in such fields. Her talk also highlighted the importance of education and pursuing professional careers.

Student activities were depicted by a small play narrated by WTE volunteers, Sana Shaikh, a Grade 10 Social High School student from Solapur, and Yafiah Shaikh, a Grade 7 Pearl Drop School student from Pune. The play was a conversation between a woman engineer and a curious girl student. The woman engineer was motivating the student to pursue engineering and shared examples about how engineering makes our lives better. Next, there were 3 hands-on activities that were conducted with the students. The activities were the following:

  • Build A Bridge:

    • This activity emphasized the concept of bridge structures and the different types of bridges. It highlights the theory of strength of material by load acting on the structure, stress produced and significance of different design of bridges.
    • Yafiah Shaikh & Sana Shaikh explained the bridge concept very well and demonstrated step-by-step activity that helped the students to build the bridge using ice-cream sticks.
    • Students also quickly built bridges with the kits provided and with their creative skills demonstrated their models. This helped them correlate engineering with their regular lives.
    • The fun and joy of this accomplishments were evident on students faces.
  • Magnetic Levitation with Pencil Model:

    • The students were introduced to the concept of Magnetic levitation & its wide application in speed trains.
    • Students were provided with a pencil levitating kit  and were explained magnetic poles concept, like how poles repel and different poles attract.
    • Using the kit, volunteers Yafiah and Sana demonstrated that if a magnet is strong enough, the force it attracts or repels can be quite strong.
    • The pencil was invisibly pushed up with the magnetic force and when spun, the public pencil spins for a long time due to very low friction as it mainly levitates on magnetic force.
    • This amazed the kids and they were excited to see the pencil floating in the air. Their eyes sparkled with joy and interest.
  • Line following Robot:

    • Volunteer Rehan Shaikh, a Grade 7 IMS School Solapur student and Huma Shaikh, a B Sc Physics Social College Student from Solapur presented the activity as a skit to explain the mechanism of robots and infra red diode.
    • Line following robot is an autonomous robot which detects and follows the black line drawn on the white floor. It uses 2 IR sensors to detect the white/black surface & transistor-based motor driver is used to send the command to motors.

These hands-on kit activities aimed to create a friendly, enthusiastic, and conducive atmosphere of learning for students. A quiz was conducted in-between the activities, it was comprised of riddles and puzzles around general knowledge. The students’ energy was remarkable and they were thrilled to win small prizes. The event concluded with vote of Thanks by Head Mistress Mrs. Jamela Dongri.

Overall making an impact on young students in a new city to build awareness of how engineering and
technology improves quality of their lives and encouraging them to pursue STEM related education and
career is continual goal of SWE India Ambassador. This was clearly shown through this event.

Giving female students the platform to participate in such events through motivation talks and hands on experience with STEM kits is encouraging the younger generation and directly impacting their thought process. The event was a huge success as volunteers witnessed cheerful faces during the activities and the students expressed extreme gratitude for such event. Few ‘Friend of SWE’ were signed up to ensure interest is kept in for the students that dream engineering and technology to be their field.

We have had many memorable moments during the event, however a testimony from a student boosted motivation of the volunteers.

A student quoted, “Being student of Urdu medium, I did not have much exposure to engineering. I never had
attended any such event & this was a great platform for learning through hands on experience & now I will surely consider Engineering as career option. Thanks to SWE Ambassador for introducing me to engineering.”

The event concluded with a candid feedback sharing from students, teachers, guest of honors and distributing SWE
goodies provided by SWE India. Day closed with lots of memories clicked together with all smiles and joy.

Authors

  • fueling stem passion of young minds in india stem

    SWE Blog

    SWE Blog provides up-to-date information and news about the Society and how our members are making a difference every day. You’ll find stories about SWE members, engineering, technology, and other STEM-related topics.

  • fueling stem passion of young minds in india stem

    Sameera Shaikh

    Sameera Shaikh works at John Deere India, and is currently responsible for Regional Shared services for Parts Supply Chain which includes support to India, China, SE Asia, Europe, Brazil & US PDCs and is the FY22 SWE Global Ambassador from India. She also has the responsibility of leading the John Deere India’s women affinity group creating an inclusive & diverse work culture. She has a broad spectrum of experiences in field of supply management, operations, IT, planning and project management with 18 plus industry experience. She is a strong believer that women are capable and should strive to create success stories that help the entire community overcome the prevalent unconscious biases/work stereotypes and encourage more females to join fields of engineering, technology, and research.

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