Engineering students use LEGOs to engage young girls in Detroit with STEM
The Wayne State University chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery-Women received a $7,000 grant from Ford Community Corps to teach young girls about computer science and programming through LEGO WeDo 2.0 kits. Over 15 girls from Fisher Magnet Lower Academy in Detroit participated in the program. Each team was tasked with designing and programming a LEGO model to solve a water usage problem.
This WSU and Ford Community Corps collaboration is a subset of the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan First program. GSSEM First aims to engage young girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields by allowing them to develop innovative solutions to real-world problems.
Each team was led by a WSU student volunteer from the College of Engineering. The volunteers worked with their teams for over two months to prepare for the program's expo, which was held on June 1 at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center in Detroit. Each team presented a poster and explained how they used their programmable LEGO kits to tackle water conservation issues.
“There is a lack of women in computer science right now. Computer science needs diversity, and not just gender diversity, but all types,” said ACM-W president and WSU computer science graduate student Diana Diaz Herrera. “By exposing young girls to women who are studying computer science, we hope they will start identifying themselves with it. Hopefully they’ll grow up and think ‘I can do that.’”