Lights, Camera and Action Helps SWE Bring STEM into Focus

Thursday, November 19, 2020
Image shows scenes from the featured videos, including white board images and two female Rose-Hulman students presenting engineering concepts. Also the SWE logo is featured.

Society of Women Engineers student chapter members have developed a series of YouTube videos to inspire middle school and high school girls to study science and engineering at Rose-Hulman.

Members of Rose-Hulman’s Society of Women Engineers student chapter are using creative ways through social media to inspire and encourage young women to become tomorrow’s engineers and scientists.

Stop-action videography and sketch animation, along with student interviews, are featured in a series of videos that are introducing viewers to the following academic areas on campus (with links to their videos):

With more to come on the SWE chapter’s YouTube channel, including Women in STEM and How to Rock Your College Application.

The video project was organized by current chapter outreach chair Emma Goodman and past chair Tori Szalay after COVID-19 precautions prevented members from participating in planned educational activities at the Terre Haute Children’s Museum, Wabash Valley Girl Scouts, and local festivals to interest middle school and high school girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities.

All of the videos feature female Rose-Hulman students talking about the STEM fields.

“So far, it has been an absolute blast and we have gotten so much out of it,” says Goodman, a chemical engineering major from Flat Rock, Illinois. She directed two of the videos, including the stop-action video that took a playful look at the core elements of civil engineering.

Meanwhile, Szalay used her artistic skills and knowledge as a computer engineering student to draw the electrical circuitry involving resistors, inductors, and capacitors, along with several cartoon characters—all using a whiteboard. She also wrote the video’s script.

“Emma’s stop-motion (civil engineering) video inspired the whiteboard animation idea,” Szalay said. “I wrote the script. The goal was for the viewer to be able to distinguish electrical and computer engineers after they watched the video. I wasn’t able to do this until the end of my sophomore year because they really are so similar. Now, as a senior, I have a good grasp of the differences.”

SWE chapter president Taylor Lueking, a junior mechanical engineering student, was featured in the mechanical engineering video. Students also had prominent roles in physics, optical engineering, and engineering physics.

“We wanted people to hear girls talking about STEM,” said Szalay, from Poland, Indiana. “The content isn’t necessarily about gender and is for anyone who wants to learn, but we thought just having that representation would be impactful. Also, videos provide a type of immortality that made us feel that 2020 isn’t just a ‘throwaway year.’ Because of social distancing measures, it was really important that SWE had something to engage our new members.”

The stop-action civil and environmental engineering video, which took 120 hours of production work, has been viewed nearly 500 times in its first two weeks on YouTube.

“We have been very pleased with how things have gone. The popularity of the videos has encouraged us to keep doing this,” Goodman said.

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