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WE23 Invent It. Build It. Recap

Over 400 participants gathered for this year’s event, which helps inspire the next generation of women engineers!
WE23 Invent It. Build It.

The Society of Women Engineers is excited to announce that another year of the annual student program, Invent It. Build It. (IIBI), was a success! This event took place at the SWE annual conference in Los Angeles.

One of the primary goals of SWE’s outreach activities is to expose girls to engineering and increase their awareness of what an engineer is. IIBI is an event that encourages girls to learn about engineering and pursue engineering careers. The program offers hands-on engineering experiences for girls, while parents and educators learn about engineering careers, scholarships, and resources. Through events like IIBI, SWE aims to help increase girls’ confidence in engineering-related skills.

WE23 Invent It. Build It.

IIBI’s half-day framework focuses on the engineering design process through hands-on STEM activities. This year’s program’s opening ceremony was led by STEM advocates and public speakers, Jay Flores and Diana Mogena. The duo performed “It’s Not Magic, It’s Science!” a series of experiments that showcase the magic of science.

Jay Flores and Diana Flores
Diana Mogena (left) and Jay Flores (right) performing “It’s Not Magic, It’s Science!”

Students were then split up into two different groups where they did hands-on engineering activities with Tamara Robertson and Deysi Melgar.

In 2023, 414 participants gathered for IIBI, including 117 students ages 10-13, 195 students ages 14-18, and 102 parents/guardians and educators.

Meet the Facilitators:

Diana Mogena and Jay Flores at Invent It. Build It.
Diana Mogena and Jay Flores at Invent It. Build It.

Jay Flores and Diana Mogena

Jay Flores is a global STEM Ambassador, the founder of Invent the Change, and a former star of NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior!” Jay has traveled the world putting on shows and getting students excited about STEM.

Check out Jay’s website and his YouTube channel to learn more about his mission and STEM content.

Diana Mogena is a Visualization and Interaction Science Manager at Accenture and host of “It’s Not Magic, It’s Science!” She obtained her degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Florida and since then has been breaking barriers and blazing trails for girls and underrepresented communities in STEM.


Tamara Robertson at WE23 Invent It Build It.
Tamara Robertson at Invent It. Build It.

Tamara Robertson

After working in the corporate engineering world for a decade, Tamara Robertson decided to pivot to outreach-focused work in hopes of inspiring more young women to get involved in STEM.

Tamara is a member of the “MythBusters” franchise, as well as an Emmy-nominated producer, science host, engineering consultant, SAG-AFTRA Actor, and wardrobe designer.

Learn more about Tamara Robertson on her website.




Deysi Melgar at Invent It Build It
Deysi Melgar at Invent It. Build It.

Deysi Melgar

With her initial passions lying more in the arts, Deysi never considered a career in STEM until her work on the PBS Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning TV series “Design Squad.” Deysi is a graduate of Wheaton College (Norton, Mass.) with a BA in physics.

Deysi works at Denver International Airport managing various airline ground operations. Her passion for aviation has led Deysi to obtain her private pilot’s certificate, with the end goal of one day flying private aircraft.




Meet the Parent & STEM Advocate Panelists

WE23 Invent It. Build It.
From left to right, Dr. Anise Grant, Nancy McIntyre, Zoe Monterola, and Monica Harrison.

Dr. Anise Grant

Dr. Grant helps drive groundbreaking developments in space and cyber programs through her work at NGC’s Chief Innovation Office. She also serves as SWE Los Angeles’ 2024 K-12 outreach chair.

Nancy McIntyre

Ms. McIntyre has spent more than 20 years as a science and robotics instructor. She works with teachers to build robotics teams at schools around the world and has developed foundation initiatives, including scholarship and internship programs.

Zoe Monterola

Ms. Monterola is a third-year student specializing in technology management. She currently serves as the publicity director for SWE@UCLA and creative director at UCLA’s award-winning, student-run Bruin Advertising & Marketing.

Monica Harrison

Ms. Harrison works in the High Frequency Measurements Center of Excellence at Keysight Technologies. She is passionate about STEM outreach, mentoring college students and young professionals, and advocating for gender equity.

Check out the Program Room Activities

Level 1 Program: STEM Exploring (Ages 10 – 13)

WE23 Invent It. Build It. Recap

Level 1 of Invent It. Build It. was led by Deysi Melgar.

In this program room, students worked with peers and real engineers to build balloon-powered vehicles.





Level 2 Program: STEM Engaged (Ages 14 – 18)

WE23 Invent It. Build It.

Level 2 of Invent It. Build It. was led by Tamara Robertson.

This program room focused on putting problem solving and engineering skills to work to see who could build the most powerful hydraulic lift system.



Wish You Could’ve Been There? See More of What You Missed Below!

WE23 Invent It. Build It. Recap“Great panel discussions and program!”

“I had a lot of fun! I enjoyed the building activity and the opening ceremony. Thank you so much for this experience!”

“Loved everything. So happy with the handouts. It allowed me to focus on the conversation! Yay!”



WE23 Invent It. Build It. Recap“This was awesome! The panelists were absolutely fantastic! Thank you so much for all you are doing!”

See more pictures from the event on the IIBI Flickr!

For even more insight into 2023 IIBI, listen to SWE’s Diverse podcast Ep. 237 With Jay Flores!


Assessing the Impact of IIBI

SWE measures students’ levels of confidence in foundational engineering skills, the influence of role models on attendees’ confidence, and participant confidence in identifying what engineers do.

Out of 157 survey respondents, here are the results:

Invent It Build It survey results

WE23 Invent It Build It graph

Thank you to over 170 volunteers for inspiring the next generation of engineers!


Volunteers at Invent It build It
Volunteers at Invent It. Build It.


Thank you to our sponsors for making this event possible!


WE23 Invent It Build It sponsors


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