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Today's Gifts = Tomorrow's Engineers

Joie (center) on a field trip to Bosch.

Because of the generous donations of our supporters, Joie Blakey and 34 other 6th grade girls from Detroit participated in the newly launched ESD Girls in Engineering Academy, which provided 140 hours of summer instruction to nurture their innate talents and inspire them to become engineers.

For Joie, who has her own puzzle website and a clear passion for building things like gumball machines, the program is a way to expand her love of creating. She explains, “It gave me an opportunity to learn new and exciting things about engineering. This was by far the best program I’ve been to all summer—and maybe even ever.”

Why was the Academy so special to Joie? She explained, “I think I feel more comfortable learning with just girls” and “I really liked my instructors.” By design, Adademy instructors were female engineers or female engineering students from ESD Student Chapters. The topics they covered ranged from writing code to designing circuits and building structures.

Contributions also support the expansion of ESD’s Future City Competition.This year, 33 of 70 eager applicants were able to join the Future City team at Navigator Upper Elementary School. This is Pinckney’s first year in the program, which challenges 6th-8th graders to engineer a city of the future—with an eye this year towards accessibility for seniors. “Students are already meeting with senior citizens, holding focus groups, gathering info. They also met with a city planner to discuss the project,” says teacher Lisa Merte. One of her students, Griffin Rae, adds, “I learned that bikes cause much less damage on roads. I think we should use more bikes.” Griffin is excited to start applying the team’s research by constructing a scale model of their city using recycled materials.

Students at Sarah Banks Middle School preparing their Future City model. They will compete against Pinckney in January.

In the end, with the help of an engineer mentor, the Pinckney team will have conceived of their city, written about it, modeled it, and simulated it on a computer. On January 22, they will gather with 40+ teams from across the state to present their work. Pinckney hopes to win, of course, but they may not know that, by competing, they will have already won.

Because of your financial support, more girls like Joie can participate in ESD summer programs and more Future City teams can be added at Pinckney and other schools. Your generosity today means more Michiganders will be on the path to become tomorrow’s engineers.