News | WTS-Orange County Chapter Inspires Youth at Annual Girls Engineering Day

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WTS-Orange County Chapter Inspires Youth at Annual Girls Engineering Day

Saturday, April 14, 2018

by By Jamie Chang, Class of 2019, Oxford Academy

On February 24th, WTS-Orange County Transportation YOU 4th Annual Girls’ Engineering Day was held at South Junior High School in Anaheim. The goal of this event is to help girls in middle school or high school get to know more about engineering fields. Over 125 girls attended this event and were paired with engineers who work in various areas of transportation, such as environmental engineering, highway, rail, transit planning and design, geotechnical engineering, and land surveying. More than one hundred volunteers assisted to run the day. I was one of the students fortunate to have the opportunity to attend.

I enjoyed the experience.  One of my favorite parts during the day was building a bridge out of straws and duct tape within 25 minutes. We were divided into groups of four, and the plan our group made was to divide and conquer each part of the bridge. So we split into two groups of two, each creating half of the bridge. Everything was going so well until there were 5 minutes left. There was miscommunication within our group, so we had to take apart and rebuild a whole half of the bridge. The clock was trickling and we were running out of time. However, in the end, because we communicated properly as we finished, the bridge was successfully completed on time.

I always thought that engineering was about building everyday objects. But after this workshop, I realized that it is more than that. The majority of activities was hands-on which made me notice how in engineering we have to gather data, analyze the root causes of the problem, and look deep into what the best possible solution is. However, since it isn’t easy to do all this as a single person, we have to work together which makes communication the key to successful engineering.

I am grateful to my school district and to WTS Orange County for hosting this opportunity, and to all of the volunteers, including METRANS Associate Director, Victoria Deguzman, for sharing their weekend with us.  It was such a wonderful experience for me; I made new friends, I found out about scholarship opportunities, and I talked to some of the presenters and learned about their journey into working in the engineering field, I am very impressed by one of the college speakers – USC alum Nicole Guo. Her personal anecdotes attracted me and she used her stories to tell us education is very important and the key to be succeed.

Jamie Chang with METRANS Associate Director Vicki Valentine and former Student Lead Assistant Nichole Guo.

Nicole Guo, who is also a former METRANS Lead Student Assistant ,shared her personal experience with students during that day, “This is my first time I shared my stories in front of youth, I wanted to help girls get into the engineering fields, and contributed myself to the diversity of encouraging girls to be an engineer.”

I saw a flyer up at school and decided to go with hopes of finding passion in engineering, and I can say that I did!