Women in Engineering and Women in Computing host Open House Nov. 7 at RIT

Interactive event showcasing STEM activities is open to girls in 5th to 9th grade, parents and teachers

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Young women can participate in hands on engineering and computing activities at Women in Engineering and Women in Computing Open House on Saturday, Nov. 7 at RIT.

What do engineers and computer professionals do? Some work on racecars, others design video games and solar cells.

Teen girls can find out about the wide range of opportunities in engineering and computing at an Open House at Rochester Institute of Technology on Saturday, Nov. 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is free and open to girls in 5th to 9th grade, their parents and teachers. Exhibits will be on display in the Brinkman Hallway and the Gordon Atrium located in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, and in the Atrium of the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.

“We’re going to set this up like a mini-Imagine RIT, our campus’ annual innovation festival, with exhibits that typify what engineers and computer scientists do, and how their work helps people,” said Kathy Ehrlich-Scheffer, WE@RIT program director.

Activities will be led by female undergraduate students in RIT’s Women in Engineering and Women in Computing programs, and will include: information about how microcontrollers and robots work; how solar cells and heat absorbing materials are used and hands on operations of basic circuits found in electronics, for example. The female undergraduates will also demonstrate some of the projects and research activities that they are involved with in areas such as sustainable engineering, biomedical applications and silicon wafer technologies. They also will provide materials about career options in each of the engineering and computing disciplines.

The open house is also geared toward parents and educators to help de-mystify engineering and computer science. Teachers will be able to learn more about how activities can translate into science classes for middle and high school-age students to further encourage girls’ exploration of the opportunities in engineering and computing fields.

“They don’t often know the extent of what these professionals do but through some simple demonstrations and activities that they can tie back to classes, they can encourage that spark of interest in these fields,” she said. “We want them to walk in the door and see women in STEM, our female engineering and computing students. That will be a powerful message in and of itself. We want them to learn about these professions and dabble in the work that they do along with our students.”

More information about the open house can be found at www.rit.edu/kgcoe/women/weritwic-open-house.