200+ girls in Birmingham meet to learn from women engineers. Here’s how it’s shaping lives.

Last year’s engineering showcase with the Society of Women Engineers Birmingham. Photo via SWE.

Calling all future female engineers! The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Sain Associates are hosting “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” on February 20 at McWane Science Center. The event educates and empowers girls interested in engineering. Find out why it’s so important and how you can be involved.

What can you expect from the event?

2019 Museum Day – Women Making History. Photo via SWE.

Girls have fun by interacting with various engineering experiences, all while learning from women engineers about the profession.  SWE Birmingham and Sain Associates have partnered to provide hands-on activities and demonstrations. They’ll have booths set up indicating the daily jobs of engineers so girls can discover what a day in the life is like.

“When I was growing up, I had no idea what engineers did. My father was even a mechanical engineer.  When I would ask what he did, he would say we figure out the problem, we determine a solution to fix the problem, and we work as a team to do it.

That meant nothing to me at the time, but I have grown to understand that is exactly what engineers do.”

Alicia Bailey, principal and owner of Sain Associates

In addition to these activities, students will watch “Big Dream” on IMAX Theatre—an inspiring movie about how engineers create better lives for those around the world.

Get involved

  • Date: Thurs., Feb.20
  • Time: 10-1PM
  • Where: McWane Science Center, 200 19th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203
  • Volunteers:  If you’d like to help with demonstrations and hands-on activities, email Shunna Cannon.
  • Parents and Teachers: If you have a child or want a particular school invited email Alicia Bailey.

The importance of Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

This sounds so cool, right? According to SWE, in 2014 only 3.2% of female freshmen came in with the intention of pursuing a degree in engineering, math, statistics, or computer science. This event is one of the ways SWE is helping boost those statistics.

Alicia knew engineering was a male-dominated field and wasn’t originally excited to pursue it. However, she did know she is good at math and science so she gave it a go.

“In my college classes, there were very few females. I never knew of opportunities that encouraged engineering, much less ones that encouraged females to consider engineering.

I think many of the volunteers would echo this as their experience, which is why their willingness to donate their time has been off the charts.” 

Alicia Bailey

The event also provides girls with awesome role models who succeeded in a male-dominated field. Learning more about the profession and all of the cool ways it helps communities gives girls the confidence to pursue it. Not to mention, it’s fun!

“It has been important to us to rally together and give these young girls an opportunity to understand engineering better.  We have volunteers from private companies, public agencies, utility companies, universities and professional organizations.”

Alicia Bailey

Who is the Society of Women Engineers?

The nonprofit is based out of Chicago, but it has branches all over the U.S.—including Birmingham. Its goal is to encourage and empower women to choose to pursue engineering and help them reach their full potential.

Engineering is diverse and contains many different roles. This organization aims to promote the image of engineering as a profession that positively improves the quality of life. The nonprofit also:

  • Aims to promote the image of engineering as a profession that positively improves the quality of life
  • Demonstrates the value of diversity in engineering

Joining SWE is a great way to make connections in the field of engineering and help spread the word about how awesome it is.

You can reach out to SWE through their contact info below.

Who is Sain Associates?

Sain Associates is a Birmingham engineering firm specializing in a little bit of everything. This includes Surveying, Traffic/Transportation Planning & Engineering, GIS, and Site/Civil Engineering.

Don’t forget about ShopChat, another special event for 8-12 graders to learn about high-wage, high-demand careers in Birmingham. You can read all about how it’s big for Birmingham.