Catch the Engineering Bug event, hosted by Texas Tech’s Society of Women Engineers, brought middle school girls together to learn about the many different types of engineering.

The event was hosted Nov. 16 in the Electrical and Computer Engineering building.

Ashley Alston, an industrial engineering major from The Woodlands, said Texas Instruments sponsored the event to provide a free all-day event to the local area for middle school girls.

Texas Instruments provided electrical engineering demonstrations, according to the Tech news Web page.

The event hosted different demonstrations and stations about the different types of engineering during the morning, Alston said. The girls participated in hands-on activities during the afternoon, such as building a straw boat, a straw bridge and making a parachute for an egg drop.

“One of the biggest goals of SWE is to outreach,” she said.

Catch the Engineering Bug, according to the Society of Women Engineers website, brings 80 to 100 girls from the local surroundings to participate and learn about engineering.

The society invites middle school girls from Lubbock and close neighboring towns, including Slaton and Post, to the event, Alston said.

“Doing this,” Laura Hojnacki, a civil engineering major from Houston, said, “it gives them a little dabble into the life of an engineer.”

Susan Grant, the university recruiting manager for Texas Instruments, said she believes it is important to raise awareness to middle school and high school students. Grant plans and sponsors different events for Texas Instruments.

“It’s great to hear the girls brainstorm,” Alston said. “The girls bring many different ideas to the table, and then they get to execute them.”

After testing what the girls built, Alston said, she discussed what was right or wrong, and what could have been done better.

“They get a better understanding of what each major is,” Hojnacki said.

She said she knew what some engineering programs were, but there were a few options she had never heard of and did not know about other options until she attended Tech. The event is intended to show girls there are many different types of engineering.

The Society of Women Engineers, Alston said, tries to have different colleges and graduate students donate their time for the event.

The society, according to its website, is a nonprofit organization that educates women and helps them succeed in engineering. It provides many different programs, networking opportunities, scholarships and advocacy and outreach activities.

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