UTRGV Engineering Week features special day to inspire women to be engineers

BY Amanda A. Taylor

A big part of the future of STEM is female, and the UTRGV College of Engineering and Computer Science has designed “Introducing Girls to Engineering Day” as a spotlight event during this year’s Engineering Week.

The week started Sunday, Feb. 18, and continues into Saturday, Feb. 24, in the engineering building on the Edinburg Campus.

“Engineering Week is an opportunity to reach out to young students so they can come out and see what engineering is all about,” said Edna Orozco, lecturer in the Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering Department, College of Engineering and Computer Science. “We have student organizations from UTRGV that showcase what they do within the college and demonstrate to future students as to why they should pursue engineering.”

The event features multiple student activities, like live demonstrations, hands-on activities and presentations, Orozco said, and the hope is that the activities will inspire students to become engineers.

That’s important, she said, because engineering is a field that is mostly “behind the scenes.”

“Engineering is the hardest field to present to students, since people usually don’t encounter engineers throughout their lives,” she said. “You can go into a hospital and see the doctors and nurses, but you won’t think twice about the people who built the hospital or designed the equipment being used.”

In that same vein, “Girl Day” is focused on bringing the intrigue of the engineering world to women because it’s a field that constantly needs brilliant minds.

“Engineering is not just for men,” Orozco said. “We are attempting to help beat the stereotypes and represent women in the engineering field. Women are still underrepresented in this field and we hope to help change that.”

Girl Day starts at 8:45 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, in the engineering building on the Edinburg Campus, and will feature presentations by faculty, followed by a tour of the engineering facility.

There will be a car activity 11 a.m., during which student groups will be able to construct racing cars and then race them during a relay later in the day. First-, second- and third-place winners will be announced during a closing ceremony.

“This is going to be a very active day for students, and we plan to see about 35 students for Girl Day,” Orozco said. About 800 students are expected to attend Engineering Week as a whole.

For more information on Engineering Week, visit http://www.discovere.org/our-programs/engineers-week. For more information on Girl Day, visit http://www.discovere.org/our-programs/girl-day.