Written by: Brianna Antinoro
The Ohio State EcoCAR 3 team recently partnered with the United States Department of Energy to attend G.I.R.L. 2017, a Girl Scout conference held once every three years, in Columbus, Ohio. The team was there from October 5 – 7, speaking with attendees about the competition and about the future of women in STEM.
“STEM Rising”, the theme of the Department of Energy booth, actively encourages girls and women of all ages to pursue STEM careers. The team used this to spark conversation with attendees about the presence of women in STEM and inspire the girls to get involved with STEM.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Kerri Loyd, Electrical Team Lead. “The girls were super excited about STEM and I was able to talk about my own experience as a woman in STEM.”
The conference kicked off on Thursday evening with a VIP Preview Party held in the Hall of Experience, the exhibit hall for the event. Special guests were able to get a sneak peek of all of the amazing booths set up before the Hall of Experience opened to every registrant on Friday.
Friday saw a strong increase in attendees as the Hall of Experience was opened. The team was able to speak to Girl Scouts, the general public, influencers and organizers alike. Finally, on Saturday, the team was interviewed by Audrey T., a junior Girl Scout Reporter. The team talked about their youth outreach efforts and how they encourage girls to get involved with STEM.
The team wanted to develop a hands-on activity for the girls to interact with at the conference. Engineering Manager, Brandon Bishop and System Safety Manager, Innovation Team Leader, System Modeling and Simulation Co-Lead, Simon Trask designed and 3D printed a scaled down model of the car that showed off the powertrain of the Camaro. The parts were color-coded to show each individual system within the powertrain.
Attendees at the event were fascinated by the model, asking questions related to what each individual component did and how it all worked together. Thanks to the model, the team was able to give the girls a look at the car “under the hood” without having the car there. Additionally, the extra printed parts let the girls closely inspect what the team worked on and built.
Loyd, along with Communications Manager Brianna Antinoro, Communications Team Member Stephanie Fragale and System Modeling & Simulation Lead Engineer Wilson Perez attended the event, speaking to over 400 girls and women over the course of the weekend.
The team is incredibly thankful to the Department of Energy for this opportunity to speak to a young female audience about the opportunities for them in STEM. You can follow the team on social media (@osuecocar) to see photos from the event and learn more about the team.