On Friday, June 16, 2023, volunteers from Boeing’s business resource group, Boeing Women Inspiring Leadership (BWIL), visited the Seattle World School to host an engineering workshop.
The facilitator hosted a discussion on the gender and race disparities in traditional science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Volunteers from BWIL proceeded to share Boeing’s history, products, and company values in hiring practices in regard to diversity, as it is a global company.
Students were challenged to make a tower structure in 18 minutes using spaghetti and masking tape to support a marshmallow – with the team that built the tallest standing structure taking first place. Each team received 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of masking tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow each. This activity was meant to highlight the tendency to make weight assumptions, the value of prototyping, and executing a plan. Small Group Leaders challenged and guided the students’ thinking process before they started. Some students were eager to use their resources to create the tallest vertical height possible, while others used more resources on the base of the tower. Most were surprised at the weight of the marshmallow atop the tower they had created!
After the activity, students were given the chance to hear from the Panelists:
Jessa Arino, a Software Integration and Test Manager for Boeing Defense, Space, and Security, immigrated to the United States in the 2000s to pursue a career in engineering that was in line with one of her existing hobbies: computer gaming.
Sarah Tao, a Propulsion Engineer for 737 Fuel Systems has a history in music and relayed how the field of engineering gives herself and others stable opportunities to work in varied industries, no matter what their interests are!
During the Question and Answer portion, students were curious about the Panelists’ educational experience, and the whole classroom discussed the importance of developing problem-solving skills and planning. There was further discussion on first failures and how failures are an opportunity to learn something new.
Thank you to Angela Zhu for organizing such a fantastic event, to Carla Devnani for volunteering as small group leader, to Panelists Jessa Arino and Sarah Tao for sharing their stories with the students, and to Jessie Ringle, Sierra Nave, Erika Stuffleben, Susanne Fafnis, Maria Campos Alvarado, and Clint Reed for sharing your time and guidance in the group activities. Thanks also to Seattle World School Educators Leah Barlow and to Sarah Johnson for coordinating and facilitating this event!
After attending this event:
Here’s what the students thought of the event:
“Today made me see there are good opportunities in life. Everybody was so nice with us, and they explained a lot about their jobs.” – 11th grade
“This event made me more interested in being an engineer. Thank you to all the people that came here to give us good information and inspired us!” – 11th grade
“Today was great and I learned a lot. I think there are some obstacles between this career and me, but I can overcome them. Thank you for coming because it inspired some of my classmates and it was nice to meet you guys.” – 11th grade
“That was great and I got so much information that was interesting and important.” – 11th grade
“Today was good and I understand a lot more about STEM.” – 11th grade