In celebration of National Engineers Week, EcoCAR organizers participated in Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (IGED) at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL).
More than 100 eighth grade girls from Chicago area schools attended IGED to learn about math, science and technology, and the career opportunities in these fields. The girls also had the opportunity to tour the lab and were paired with ANL scientists and engineers who served as their mentor for the day.
The morning kicked off with a presentation from AVTC Controls and Simulation Engineer and EcoCAR Organizer, Jessica Britt. She shared her passion for engineering, her journey through school, and how she went from Georgia Tech EcoCAR team member to Organizer at ANL. She then challenged the participants to write out directions on how to construct a perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This seemingly simple activity challenged the attendees to think critically about each step and how an entire process can be derailed if specific directions are not communicated directly.
EcoCAR organizers spent the day demonstrating a Velodyne LIDAR system. This captures how autonomous vehicles use laser systems to determine the presence and distance of objects around them. The resulting images were displayed to the attendees.
In the afternoon, IGED participants learned how to assemble powertrains for small electric cars. The students selected their chassis, axles, and pulleys to try and make the fastest cars possible. They then tested the cars on a test track, refined their designs by changing out pulleys or tires, and retested them.
Learning about technology and the science behind vehicles at an early age can make girls feel more comfortable and excited about careers in automotive engineering, and may join the next generation of AVTCs!
Check out some photos from the day below: