Rowan students encourage aspiring young female engineers through projects

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Mechanical engineering students at Rowan University are working together to inspire future female engineers through their “Think Like a Girl: Engineering Kits” project.

Gaby Rochino, senior, founder and CEO of “Think Like A Girl,” paired with co-founders junior Lexi Basantis and senior Megan DeGorge. After winning first place at the Rohrer College of Business 2015 Elevator Pitch Competition, the project was on its way to success.

“Think Like A Girl was created to encourage young girls to become more involved in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math),” DeGorge says.

The kits are designed toward ages 6-12+, but anyone can participate. DeGorge says that the engineering kits are meant to target this age range because girls in middle school tend to lose interest in STEM. She hopes these kits can appeal to them before their interest is lost.

The eco-friendly and biodegradable kits focus on the fundamentals of engineering assisted by storytelling, role-playing, and critical and creative thinking. The main components of each kit include an engineering activity, the Gadget Guide, and a female engineer trading card.

The engineering activity teaches spatial skills and engineering fundamentals in a way that is fun for girls. For instance, the team’s one prototype, “Gaby Gadget and the Eiffel Tower” instructs girls to build their own structures with gumdrops and toothpicks for the engineering activity.

The Gadget Guide is an illustrated short story booklet which shadows a young female engineer, Gaby Gadget, on her engineering adventures.

“The short story helps girls learn about engineering in a fun way, since girls generally learn best through storytelling and role playing,” DeGorge said.

The Gadget Guide also shows girls real applications of engineering. DeGorge says these applications aim to help clear up misconceptions that girls have about the essence of engineering.

“Our vision is to empower girls to develop into our world’s problem solvers,” DeGorge says. “Our mission is to inspire girls to learn about engineering fundamentals in ways girls enjoy, while connecting them to the real world.”

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