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Environmental Engineer Visits Group V Inventors

In preparation for its annual Invention Convention, Group V was given some expert advise from visitor Leanne Pasquini, who is an environmental engineering doctoral student at Yale University. Meeting with Group V students all day and spending some time with Upper School students, Ms. Pasquini offered an informed perspective on the process of creating a viable product and suggesting the many opportunities girls will have in the future on STEM-related professions.
Approachable and direct in her delivery, Ms. Pasquini set out a number of challenges for the girls. The first “out-of-the-box” assignment was to draw 30 circles on a page and come up with products that could be made from them. In one minute, the girls had done their best to transform the simply drawn shapes to ice cream cones, sunglasses, balls, pucks, rubber ball bands, faces, etc. Uninhibited and drawn to the task at hand the girls were then ready to “think like engineers.”
Ms. Pasquini described the process of creating an invention from investigation to execution. She described the steps involved, the collaborative nature of brainstorming and configuring a sound design.
Ms. Pasquini also opened the girls’ eyes to the variety of engineering careers---chemical, civil, mechanical, biological---and how all have one thing in common: to find a solution to an existing problem, to streamline labor intensity, to create a new product or investigate a means to mitigate critical global issues, including water supply, disease, malnutrition and infant mortality.
As the girls prepare to create inventions for the Invention Convention in February, they have a design process on hand to guide and, perhaps, redirect, them. They learned that revisiting plans and creating a map for their thinking process will ensure them some fallback information that could actually move them forward.
Knowing well that “Girls Can Do Anything,” Group V will show us on Thursday, February 9, that girls can do everything.