Last Friday, I had the pleasure of volunteering through the Society of Women Engineering to participate in the annual CHOICES program. Every year, Lehigh invites middle school girls potentially interested in science or engineering to the mountaintop campus where for a whole day we do fun experiments. I worked with the program last year and I just loved seeing the students getting excited about thinking about STEM fields, or just watching them get excited about science in general. Last year, I was able to volunteer in the morning and helped out with some of the smaller experiments and ice breakers but unfortunately had to leave for lab before the day’s grand finale project – the egg drop. This year, I had a test in the morning, so I was finally able to experience the egg drop first hand.
The girls were all broken up into teams still from the morning. They were given $12 to buy materials and given a half hour to come up with a design proposal for the best way to cushion an egg from a 30 foot drop off the side of the Wood Dining Hall. The girls who I were working with got extremely into the project — they may have only been in eighth grade but they were completely into the design process. Their ideas were extremely well thought out and they even were able to bargain a little bit when buying materials. It paid off, because their project won for originality and their egg didn’t break on it’s fall! Meanwhile, I got to watch these girls, who were all from different middle schools and had just met that morning, work together, bond, and ask for each others phone numbers to stay in touch. It was a truly rewarding experience and I can’t wait to volunteer with the program next year!