The other day, the Green Girls Robotics club visited our lab on their tour of innovative companies in Boston. As the Head of Development for our needless injection device, I had the pleasure of showing them around. We hosted the girls in our office and talked to them about ways to be creative in early-stage product development. They asked so many great questions. It’s inspiring to see the brilliant, inquisitive young people with their dedicated, involved parents.
This group of enthusiastic middle-schoolers brought back a flood of memories from my own formative years in engineering. I did many fun, engaging projects throughout elementary, middle, and high school, and that’s what propelled me into the engineering field where I am today.
For years, my friends and I participated in Odyssey of the Mind, an international, creative problem-solving challenge for students. This was the first time I really got into engineering. We used our ingenuity and creativity to compete on projects and quick-thinking activities. I learned to use shop tools and computer code to turn ideas into prototypes. Of course, the best part was having a blast with my friend and meeting interesting people from across the globe.
Later on, in high school, I was part of a team that developed a human-powered hovercraft. We designed and refined until we had the fastest human-powered hovercraft in the world.
Student Engineering Competition Teams
From my experience, early exposure to student competitions inspires the engineers of tomorrow. The science and technology innovations of today are done by teams of researchers and engineers, not by individuals. By participating in competition teams, young people build the skills engineers need to think critically, work in a team, and preserver. Plus, it’s fun!
Being part of a competition team exposes young engineers to great mentors who give them the feedback and support they need to learn and improve. And having parents who support their kids’ interest in STEM education sets them on the path to success. I have a daughter now, and I want to introduce her to opportunities like Green Girls Robotics so she sees engineering is accessible and fun.
There are a ton of STEM competitions available to young people and student groups.