On April 27, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) hosted the Girls Day Out event for all female and non-binary students. One of the Empowerment & Development for Girls in Engineering (EDGE) leaders, Arushi Munjal explains the schedule for the event.
On April 27, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) hosted the Girl’s Day Out event for all female and non-binary students. One of the Empowerment & Development for Girls in Engineering (EDGE) leaders, Arushi Munjal explains the schedule for the event.
Liam De La Fuente

Inspired by the world of engineers

UCSD holds EDGE conference for students interest in the engineering field

On April 27, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) held the annual Empowerment & Development for Girls in Engineering (EDGE) conference, inviting all BVH female and non-binary students. This event was organized by three UCSD students and three EDGE leads hoping to encourage young students to pursue engineering. EDGE partnered to host this event with Women in Computing and Sweet Society of Engineers. 

“We want to target, especially in the coming years, students from high schools that are low in resources, but being in an affluent area like La Jolla, is difficult to do because only students from nearby can make it,” one of three EDGE leads, Arushi Munjal said. “Our overall goal is to increase the number of women [in the STEM field] at a young age and to target other marginalized groups within females because they are more likely to join the engineering field.” 

At the event, students were directed to a designated lecture hall, where the opening ceremony took place. After the ceremony three EDGE leads introduced the keynote speaker, Magaly Drant. In her fifteen minute speech, she described her life in France and experiences while pursuing engineering. 

“I hope students consider engineering and they can really feel that it’s for them. They can recognize some of the things they are going through and that their experiences happen to other people that are high in a career. Students can learn how to manage and deal with it,” Drant said. 

Following the opening ceremony, students were directed to one of six workshops offered at the event. Students attended two workshops for about two hours each. These workshops included Mechanical Engineering and Robotics, Technical Renewable Energy, Bias in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Workshop, Build a Game with Python, Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision. BVH sophomore Sam O’loughlin attended the conference in hopes of gaining experience in the engineering field. 

“Everybody has their own tribe, but for me [it was] engineering.”

— Magaly Drant

“I wanted to go because I already know I want to pursue a career in engineering. I thought it would be a cool opportunity to get some hands-on experience. My first workshop was Technical Renewable Energy and I would definitely say it was worth it to go because it helped me and other students get introduced and interested in engineering,” O’loughlin said.

In the Technical Renewable Energy workshop, students were tasked by Postdoc Researcher, Yufan Zhang and Assistant Teaching Professor in Electrical Engineering Department Karcher Morris, to build a wind turbine panel that can produce the most energy. Students were given various materials and an estimated one hour to see who had the best wind turbine. Karcher and Zhang looked forward to introducing a new solution to students and steps it took in solving the problem.

“We hope to introduce them to knowledge about wind turbines and whether we can create a world that can be powered by wind energy. As well, we hope to introduce them to universities, majors and courses that they can choose in the future,” Zhang said.

After the first workshop, students were released for lunch. During this time, students could explore the area, converse with Drant for advice, or play games with one another. This form of community satisfied the EDGE leads, including Munjal, seeing as this event was planned since October and required many hardworking hours to prepare.

“Seeing people playing games and talking to professors is very rewarding. Students have become a lot more interested in events like these. We have had discussions about being a woman in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM), another type of minority in STEM. Our students are very involved and engaged in these parts of the conversations,” Munjal said.

Many students gathered around Drant curious about her life in France and how her career differed as a result of her time there. Drant expresses her appreciation towards the questions as she believes the rise of women in STEM is crucial in today’s society. Moreover, she answered with hopes of contributing to the students’ inspiration.

“I was in France for only two years of my business career, but I think here [in the U.S] you can grow faster in your career. In France, you can be as good as you can be and still get a small raise. In the U.S.,  [if] you performed well and did good things for the company, they rewarded you with promotions,” Drant said.

Once the lunch period was over, students were sent to their second and final workshop of the day. For O’loughlin, students’ second workshop was Mechanical Engineering and Robotics, which allowed students to design a 3D structure on a computer that would then print out through a 3D printer. 

“During all their activities, I hope they get a sense of community. It’s nice to be able to connect with others that have a similar interest and connect with us engineers and the volunteers. Oftentimes we work in teams so it is fun to do that and compete against one another,” Morris said.

As the final workshop wrapped up, Munjal reflected on the day and how it represented her own interests and personal experiences. As a Computer Science and Math major, she appreciated that students were able access resources related to engineering. 

“One of the main goals for me is to target students at a young age because when I was younger, I always had the impression that technology and engineering was scary, boring or I could never do that. Although, I am very grateful for the mentors that I had who showed me it is a lot more fun than you think and that I could have a career in this,” Munjal said. 

The event concluded with a closing ceremony, where the three leads from EDGE took the opportunity to thank all participants for attending. Students gained new experiences and were introduced to the world of engineering while networking with people like Drant who have already been through the process.

“Girls should not be afraid of going into STEM. It is a fascinating career choice and it is welcoming to us now. Everybody has their own tribe, but for me [it was] engineering,” Drant said. “For me, as a woman, I come from another country, and it never has been a problem, maybe some days where it is not great, but most of the time I felt where I belonged. Engineering makes me happy.”

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Cielo Muniz Sigala
Cielo Muniz Sigala, News Editor
I am a sophomore and am currently the News Editor for the student-run newspaper publication, the Crusader and previously worked as an Opinion Editor. I initially joined journalism due to an outside influence, but as I began to experience the classroom environment, I soon grew to love it. Throughout last year, I loved working and meeting new people within the community that made class more exciting. Journalism also developed my passion in being able to inform the community about crucial events that take place and affect everyone. Newspaper also has an impact on my growth as a person, allowing me to enhance my creative and leadership skills. Outside of the Crusader, I participate in Mock Trial, Engineering Club and MECHA Club.  Follow me on Instagram: @cielo.muniz.sigala
Liam De La Fuente
Liam De La Fuente, Staff Writer
I am currently a freshman at Bonita Vista High and this is my first year on the Crusader as a Staff Writer and I plan to spend my next three years on staff as well. I joined newspaper to expand my knowledge of writing as well as to get rid of any social anxiety when meeting new people. As a writer, I want to spend my time on the Crusader to better my formatting and grammar, as well as improve my skills on reporting and bringing the truth to my community. In my free time, I enjoy writing stories and reading books. Follow me on Instagram @crusader.liam

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