Section Spotlight! “Mystery Lane Discovery Challenge” at Springfield Technical Community College

Since February, the SWE affiliate at Springfield Technical Community College, the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts, and the Through My Window engineering curriculum have partnered to host a group of local girls for a “Mystery Lane Discovery Challenge” program about engineering

IMG_9907Co-facilitators include STCC SWE affiliate members Darya Bandarchuk, Clair Gu, and Amanda Alkam; Isabel Huff, a K-12 educator member of SWE and outreach coordinator for Through My Window; Crystal Ford, the Through My Window videographer; and Alyssa Delude, a local student and member of Girl Scouts.

Every Tuesday from 6-8, the girls meet on the STCC campus. In the early weeks, they read and listened to the audiobook of Talk to Me, a book by local author and former engineer Sonia Ellis. The book is about a 14-year-old girl named Sadina and her friends who use engineering to solve a crime, keep Sadina’s mom from going to jail, and help Sadina’s little sister Maddie talk (she has an anxiety disorder that often makes her too nervous to speak). The girls loved the book, enthusiastically reading at home between meetings (some even finished the book early!). When they listened to chapters as a group, they immediately raised their hands at the end, asking questions, sharingGirl Scouts 2017 STCC image 7 predictions, and humorously judging the characters’ actions.

Much to their delight, author Ellis has visited the girls on multiple occasions, reading chapters, signing books and answering their questions about writing, publishing, and experiences in engineering.

In addition to reading Talk to Me, the girls dove into interactive online adventures that allowed them to more deeply explore the engineering concepts from the book. In Trapped in Time, they helped Talk to Me character Sadina, her “frenemy” Catalina, and Catalina’s little brother Carl travel to the past to help the Apollo astronauts and the Chicago mayor with engineering design–and then return to the present to escape from a flooding cave. In Rio’s Brain, they searched a virtual mansion to see if it would be possible to create an artificial brain for Sadina’s best friend Rio, whose brain was removed by evil researchers who plan to destroy it. The online adventures include interactive games, journaling, videos, and more.

Other activities have included investigating consciousness and machine consciousness (using paper brains andGirl Scouts 2017 STCC image 6 heads!), exploring the fundamentals of coding by drawing pictures and explaining to others how to draw them, and discussing the limits of artificial intelligence–like whether robots will ever replace pets, doctors, teachers, and actors.

With SWENext flyers in hand, we know these girls are the future of SWE and the future of engineering!


For more information or to find out how you can use Through My Window as part of your SWE outreach, visit or email

Through My Window was created by Smith College and Springfield Technical Community College. It is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 1223868 and 1223460. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

This Mystery Lane Discovery Challenge program was funded through the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts by the Women’s Leadership Council, United Way of Pioneer Valley.

Girls Fix The World!


On February 26, 2017, thirty middle school-aged girls showed up at 9 AM at Tufts University. The girls were divided up into three groups and rotated through three different activities in the morning: building a Rube Goldberg machine, laser cutting and decorating nametags, and making ice cream through a chemical reaction with ice and salt. In the Rube Goldberg activity, the girls used a variety of supplies, such as PVC pipe, duct tape, string, marbles, dominoes, and cardboard to ultimately turn a light off. Each of the three groups added to the design, and the final product can be seen below.


In the laser cutting activity, the girls used Graphic (an AutodeskTM graphic design program) to write out their names. The designs were then cut with the laser cutter on wood, and the girls then got to decorate their nametags!


The last activity of the morning was ice cream making. In pairs, the girls mixed together cream, milk, vanilla and sugar in a plastic bag, which they then put into a larger plastic bag with ice and salt. They shook the double plastic bag contraption and watched as the ice melted, but the temperature decreased. About fifteen minutes later, they had a delicious snack!


The girls then took a lunch break before reviewing what worked and did not work in the morning before proceeding to the afternoon activities. In the afternoon, the girls were again divided up into three groups; this time, each girl focused and completed one activity for a longer period of time. One group of girls learned how bridges are built, and had fun building bridges out of notecards and a variety of other materials. A second group of girls took part in a humanitarian engineering project where they designed waterproof, easy-to-carry bags that could hold a variety of items if a refugee had to leave their town and home at a moment’s notic.. The last group of girls built prosthetic legs out of PVC pipe, cloth, tennis balls, etc., and then tested them out.



After cleaning up, the girls shared what they had done and then had an open house for the parents as they came to pick them up. Overall, we got really positive feedback from the girls, volunteers, and parents! We hope to do this event again next year!




Call for Leadership Summit Hosts

Every fall Region F hosts the Region Leadership Summit for collegiates and professionals alike. This summit is a great way to network with other SWE members, improve professional development skills, and learn about SWE business!

The Fall 2016 summit was hosted in September at Tufts University. It was a full-day packed with exciting talks and workshops!

The call for host sites for Fall 2017 is open until March 25.

The official information sheet is attached here.

The official application is here.

Open Call For Nominations For Regional Leadership Position

The Region F Nominating Committee will be taking nominations for positions on the Region F Collegiate Team until March 1st!
These positions require an one-year commitment, so graduating seniors may not apply to these specific roles.

The roles open for nomination are:

A description of responsibilities can be found here.
Information on what needs to be included in a nomination can be found here.

Region F Conference Collegiate Poster Competition Deadline Extension!

The deadline for submitting  research poster to the competition at Region Conference has been extended.
Abstracts, of 500 words or less, are now due on February 4th!
Research can be within the subjects of science or engineering, or within the scope of SWE’s mission.
All submissions that follow the guidelines will be accepted!
Posters will be exhibited on Saturday, undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged  to apply!

More information at the link.

See you at Regional Conference!

Download the WE16 App today!

WE16 begins in two days!

From Lightning Talks, to Special Events, to Tours, this year’s conference has a lot of programming. But don’t feel overwhelmed!

The WE16 app allows users to search events and save them to their in-app calendar. Having a localized for all of the scheduled information, is quite the help!

A map of the convention center, with room numbers, is included.

Google Play Store

Apple App Store

SWE Resources for the National Conference Career Fair!

SWE offers a number of resources to prepare conference attendees for the Career Fair! Here are a few of the most helpful links and pages.

Before conference upload your most recent resume to the SWE Resume Database. Uploading your resume before SWE16 will allow companies the opportunity to schedule interviews in advance! The database is accessible by every company in attendance.
Click here to upload your resume!

SWE has several Pre-Conference webinars offered throughout the next month. The will all be recorded for future viewing! The webinars cover a variety of topics: Career Fair dress code, networking, and the conference at large.
The webinars can be found here!

Here is the list of the companies in attendance. Browsing this page, before the Career Fair will benefit you immensely. Knowing which companies you want to talk with will make this 400 company Career Fair much smaller. Also, leverage the online SWE Career Center to research what positions each company is hiring for. You can never be too prepared!

SWE’s Career Fair will be very similar to your own universities. Many of the tips that you’ve heard are directly applicable. If you have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

See you there!