The Cal Poly Pomona Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) won the Outreach Event Award at the 51st annual National Conference for Women Engineers. The award is given to a school whose outstanding event not only embodies SWE¿s mission but also inspires women to pursue engineering. For the second year in a row, Cal Poly Pomona placed first for its Second Annual Youth Engineering Success Day, also known as the Y.E.S program.
¿Our Cal Poly Pomona SWE section strongly believes that education and awareness about engineering must start at an early age. This belief inspired us to create the outreach program for middle school and high school girls,¿ explains Amanda Bustos, one of the Y.E.S. Program coordinators.
The Y.E.S. Program, a day-long event on campus, begins with an introduction to engineering and the various disciplines. Program leaders emphasize that gender should not be an issue when making a decision in choosing a field. Students tour labs and participate in a hands-on activity.
This year, 215 students from seven schools attended the event and they built a structure entirely out of newspaper and tape. The structure had to be big enough for one of the group members to fit. During lunch, students talked with a panel of engineering students and asked questions.
¿Our main goal was to change at least 15 students¿ future by considering engineering as their lifetime career, and we ended up reaching so many more. This was outstanding! Our outcome exceeded what we expected, therefore making our program very effective,¿ says Angelica Gomez, one of the Y.E.S. Program coordinators.
¿The Y.E.S. Program itself is already so rewarding because you are able to see the impact that you are making on these young women firsthand. But then to have nationals recognize our efforts with an award, it¿s like the icing on the cake,¿ says Danielle Noriega, SWE chapter president.
Cal Poly Pomona¿s SWE Chapter sent 24 members to the national conference in Chicago from Oct. 13 to 15. More than 5,000 women engineers attended the conference, which included a job fair with more than 200 companies, competitions and opportunities to share ideas for becoming a better engineer.