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Engineers Provide Girl Scout Troop Inside Look at UMCoE Labs During Robotics Workshop

More than a dozen Girl Scouts, the premier leadership organization for girls, visited the University of Miami College of Engineering (UMCoE) for an afternoon of learning about engineering. Dr. Nina Miville, an assistant professor in practice in the UMCoE Department of Industrial Engineering, arranged for the afternoon of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities with the goal of sparking an interest in STEM.

The elementary school students represented Girl Scout troops from St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church. There also were Ambassador Girl Scouts on-hand to work with the younger girls.  This was an opportunity for the Ambassadors to practice leadership and enjoy STEM activities.

During their Dec. 14 visit, the young students learned about robotics as well as the process of 3D printing.

The Scouts took a quick tour of the approximately 5,850-square-foot UMCoE – Johnson & Johnson 3D Printing Center of Excellence Collaborative Laboratory. After the tour, the day culminated with a variety of robotics workshops hosted by Dr. Diana Arboleda, a senior lecturer in the UMCoE Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, and her students in the McArthur Engineering Addition.

Nationally, Girl Scouts have embraced STEM programming, recently introducing 23 new badges for STEM and outdoor activities. Girl Scouts of every age are being introduced to STEM to help them see how they can actually improve the world—whether they’re discovering how a car’s engine runs, learning to manage finances, or caring for animals.

“This is the age when they start thinking about what they want to be when they grow up. In the past, women weren’t typically taught they could be engineers or scientists,” said Miville. “I want to show them that they can be anything they want to be. Girls need to see at a young age, elementary school, that engineering is an option.  These programs are intended to expose them to the possibilities of engineering.”

Through her education and career, Miville has often experienced being one of the only female engineers in the room and now as an engineering professor and Girl Scout leader, she hopes to give back and encourage the next generation of women to explore STEM.

“Many of the girls are interested in science and expressed their enjoyment during this hands-on learning experience,” said Miville. “This was a really great experience for me, too.”

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