News & Events

Family Engineering Activities Take Center Stage at Engineering Exploration Day

February 2013

Forty middle and high school girls and their parents attended Michigan Tech’s first Parent-Daughter Engineering Exploration Day on February 23. A dozen young women engineering students from the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) shared their experiences and enthusiasm for their chosen career path and led the group through a variety of fun, hands-on Family Engineering activities. The activities demonstrated how engineering is used to create prosthetic limbs, provide safety equipment, and design ways to improve our quality of life.

Kay LaFond, an environmental engineering graduate student, explained, “We want to reach out to girls when they are starting to think about what they want to do. Engineering is about creativity and making a difference.”

“There are lots of jobs in engineering,” observed Jen Fuller, who is pursuing a PhD in environmental engineering. “Many companies are looking for women engineers to diversity their workforce. In addition, an engineering degree is versatile. It prepares you for jobs in many related fields, such as marketing, research, sales, etc.”

The event was organized by the Michigan Tech Center for Science  & Environmental Outreach and funded by the College of Engineering, Department of Engineering Fundamentals, and Michigan Economic Development Corporation.


Family Engineering Highlighted in “Science and Children”

December 2012

Family Engineering received excellent exposure in the December 2012 issue of NSTA’s journal for elementary school educators, “Science and Children.” The article, “Family Style Engineering” was written by Lara K. Smetana, Joan Chadde Schumaker, Wendy Severin Goldfien, and Cheryl Nelson and highlights Family Engineering’s nationally proven model for implementing effective Family Engineering events.

Family Engineering Spreads to Argentina

October 2012

In October the Foundation for Family Science & Engineering was invited to participate in the World Engineering Education Forum (WEEF 2012) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Representatives from the Foundation for Family Science & Engineering presented a paper on Family Engineering at WEEF 2012 and also took advantage of their time abroad to conduct public outreach for Family Science and Family Engineering.

Colegio Español in Rosario, Argentina hosted a dual workshop/professional development training for secondary-level teachers in Family Science and Family Engineering. The workshop was well-attended and the educators who participated found the exercises to be engaging and stimulating. Additionally, participants reported that they felt that these exercises had great potential for encouraging students to work collaboratively.

Representatives from the FFSE also hosted several events in Bariloche, with help from Karen Halberg of the Balseiro Institute, the Institute that is affiliated with the National Atomic Center of Argentina. Two secondary schools hosted Family Science and Family Engineering events: Escuela 123 and Antu Rucca. The FFSE facilitated two trainings for university faculty at the University of Rio Negro and at the Instituto Balseiro, and  also hosted a very successful family event at a vibrant community center called La Llave.  The local media took a strong interest in the FFSE’s work – David Heil from the FFSE and Karen Halberg were interviewed on a program entitled “Los Cientificos TV” and on Canal 6 News, which is broadcast throughout the Southern Cone region of Argentina.


Family Engineering in Grand Rapids, MI

November 2012

Eight students from the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers chapter at Michigan Technological University conducted a Family Engineering night in Grand Rapids, Michigan on November 9th. Local families gathered at Harrison Park elementary school to experience what it’s like working as a team on engineering challenge activities, such as how to create an assembly line to produce ballpoint pens in the least amount of time, how to design a light bulb with wires and batteries, and how to build a laucher to propel objects across the room.

When asked if they felt that Family Engineering Night was a worthwhile experience, the overwhelming response from families was yes!  “It gave my kids an enjoyable social experience while learning,” commented one participant. Another said that “It really made my family come together and have fun.”


Find Family Engineering at SWE in Houston

November 9-10, 2012

Family Engineering is pleased to be part of the 2012 Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Conference, happening this month in Houston, Texas. Here’s where you’ll find us:

  • Friday, November 9, 1:00-4:00 pm, Outreach Expo, George R. Brown Convention Center, Room 362
  • Friday, November 9, 3:40-4:00 pm, “Get ‘Em While They’re Young with Family Engineering!” lightening talk by Joan Chadde, Michigan Technological University and Kerstin Cleveland, Society of Women Engineers MTU Student Chapter, George R. Brown Convention Center, Room 340
  • Saturday, November 10, 12;30-2:30 pm, “Invent It, Build It!–Next Steps for Middle School Girls, Ballroom of the Americas E&F, Hilton Americas Houston Hotel

Looking forward to seeing you there!