Geared Up @ Irma Rangel
Updated: Jun 18, 2020
Geared Up kicked off at Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School in Dallas Independent School District in February 2017. We held 4 weekly sessions and explored the concepts of general engineering, industrial engineering, electrical engineering, and civil (and architectural) engineering!
The first week was an introduction to general engineering; we had a guest speaker from SMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education, Heather Hankamer. She spoke about what engineers do, what it takes to be a successful engineer (hard work!!!), and why we need more female engineers. It was very inspirational to the room of girls!
After the great talk, the students were stoked to tackle their first design challenge: Eggpocalypse. Eggpocalypse was a 3 round egg drop challenge with a special Geared Up twist. Students had different time limits and set materials to drop their eggs and devices from different heights. We tested a lot of different variables, and the students faced a lot of challenges each round. However, at the end of each round, each student was determined to be successful!
During Week 2, we covered industrial engineering! We had an amazing guest speaker from New York Life Insurance Company’s Technology Organization, Rob Johnston. He spoke to the students about what industrial engineers do, what he’s done in his career, and all the opportunities available with a degree in industrial engineering. The students were excited, and they had a lot of great questions!
After our talk, we completed our second design challenge: The Great Escape – Save the Chickens! For this design challenge, the students were tasked to build a car that could travel a certain distance with limited materials and a time constraint. This challenge was a lot more advanced and difficult than the previous week, but the students were not discouraged – they kept trying until they had a successful car. It was a lot of fun!
During our third session, we actually explored two different types of engineering – electrical engineering and architectural engineering! We had a very cool guest speaker from Texas Instruments (TI), Ali Anwar. He taught the students all about electrical engineering, his experiences, and his current experience at TI. The girls loved learning all about microcontrollers and the endless possibilities of technology!
After the students learned about electrical engineering, they quickly began their design challenge for the week: We Will Rebuild. This week, students were tasked to build a house with a set number of rooms. Like every week, the challenge had time and material constraints. Because the only specification was the number of rooms, the students got creative with size, shape, and form of their structures!
During our fourth and last session of Geared Up at Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, our students learned about Civil Engineering. We didn’t have a guest speaker this week, but we did learn a lot and have a ton of fun!
After introducing civil engineering, the students completed their final design challenge: LoadRunner. The students were tasked to build popsicle stick bridges. This challenge had limited materials and time, and needed to hold as much weight as possible. The strongest bridge at the end of work-time would be crowned this week’s Geared Up champion!
To wrap up Geared Up with Irma Rangel, we brought the students on a field trip to tour the Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University. The girls got to see our the Deason Innovation Gym, the super cool labs we have, our machine shop, and much more! After 4 weeks of design challenges and seeing the girls at SMU, we’re proud to say that we definitely found at least a few future engineers (and mustangs)!