Updated: Dec 11, 2020
Every year, Delran High School has the opportunity to send six outstanding math and science students, who are sophomore girls, to participate in the Lockheed Martin Women in Engineering program. This year, due to the pandemic, the program was all virtual and spread over three afternoons, rather than being a one-day field trip to Lockheed Martin's Moorestown facility. This year's Delran representatives were: Grace Diehl, Aaliyah Hicks, Corinne Langowski, Mackenzie Martin, Marissa Mongon, and Elise Silva.
The 3-day Women in Engineering program focused on providing girls with an introductory experience in 3 different engineering fields: mechanical engineering, software engineering, and chemical engineering.
To learn about the field of mechanical engineering, the girls worked in TinkerCAD to create a design that could be 3D printed. All of Delran's participants will have the opportunity to actually print their designs in the Delran Innovation & Fabrication Lab. Grace Diehl said, "My favorite activity was working with TinkerCAD because there truly were endless possibilities. I learned more about the program itself, and also worked on generating ideas and creativity."
The software engineering portion focused on an introduction to computational and logical problem solving where students worked in small groups to solve problems using computer coding software. Marissa Mongon explained, "My favorite activity was coding. I learned that almost every electronic device and app that we use contains some type of code language, and that coding is the basis of most engineering."
Finally, the chemical engineering activity invited the girls to use household ingredients to make their own bath bombs, and explore the chemical reactions that result in bubbly bath water. Mackenzie Martin shared, "My favorite activity was the bath bombs activity because I really got to see chemical reactions come to life and see the whole entire process behind the reaction."
The activities were interspersed with panel discussions and keynote addresses featuring female engineers sharing their own stories of the various career paths they have taken to end up where they are now. Corinne Langowski reflected on what she learned from the women who spoke. "They shared interesting experiences they had working with Lockheed Martin. Several of them shared experiences travelling around the world as engineers, and the international viewpoint it gave them, which really interested me. They are so successful and have worked individually and with coworkers to create new technology, solve problems and they all seem to enjoy their jobs. I liked that they talked about their work-life balance, and the non-routine days they have between desk work and being out in the field."
Marissa Mongon also shared the insights she gained from hearing the speakers. "All of the women who spoke to us were so inspirational. Many of them started their careers the same way, working their way up from a base-level engineer to the higher ranks. I was especially interested in the Chief Engineer of International Systems, Trish Clark, and her story. She taught us that hard work will get you far in life, and she described all the different parts of the defense/combat system, Aegis, that she had worked on. Her story was special to me because she said that despite the fact that she was the only female engineer in the room sometimes, she felt that she belonged there because she brought new ideas to the table. She conveyed this same message to us, saying that we were all capable of becoming the next generation of female engineers."
Mackenzie Martin summed up the inspiration that our sophomores took away from their experiences with the Lockheed Martin Women in Engineering Program: "My big takeaway from this program is that if you are passionate about something in this world and you want to make a difference, it doesn't matter what you might look like or who you might be. Everyone in this world is able to make a difference in their own way. Man or woman, you yourself have some type of impact on this world. You may not know what it is or when it will happen, but it will happen."
DelranSTEM has immense gratitude for our partner, Lockheed Martin, and the invaluable experiences and real inspiration you have provided to our students through the Women in Engineering Program, with special thanks to program coordinator, Hayley Poll. Thank you!