SWENext Leadership Training Conference
On Saturday, February 22nd, 20 SWENexters and 9 parents, educators, and supporters (PEP) visited Cal Poly for the 4th Annual SWENext Leadership Training Conference, Leadership: A Power of the Past, A Force of the Future. The day began with a keynote address by Cal Poly Biomedical Engineering Faculty Kristen O’Halloran Cardinal on STEM, Leadership, Opportunities, and SWE. After the keynote, the 2nd Annual SWENext Design Challenge Competition was held where teams from Castro Valley High School and Livermore High School presented their solutions to this year’s prompt of helping someone in their community and how they turned their solution into a hands-on engineering activity for local elementary and middle school-aged students. Castro Valley presented on their improved bathroom door locks and hooks design and how they turned their activity into an introduction to CAD software for younger students. Livermore High School presented on its air-powered lighting system and how they turned their project into an activity for younger students to learn about types of renewable energy. Dr. Lauren Cooper of the Mechanical Engineering Department and Ms. Karla Carichner of the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department joined Dr. Cardinal in judging the competition.
After the completion of the 2nd Annual Design Challenge Competition, participants rotated through tours of various engineering clubs at Cal Poly and learned about ongoing projects in Quality of Life Plus (QL+), Women In Software and Hardware (WISH), Robotics, CubeSat, and Amateur Radio. The majority of the conference consisted of breakout sessions designed specifically for the SWENexters and PEP groups. SWENexters learned about their leadership style, qualities that make a great leader, team dynamics, and the importance of emails and how to effectively draft, review, and send them. SWENexters participated in a hands-on engineering activity where they experience Materials Engineering first-hand by looking at a variety of different ductile, brittle, and flexible materials and how temperature affects the material’s properties. PEP learned about the power of STEMinism, the variety of engineering disciplines, the importance of diversity and inclusion in STEM, and was presented with new resources for encouraging engineering. Additionally, Ms. Roberta Richey-Hamilton, a Cal Poly Admissions Officer presented on “Tackling the Admissions Process” to PEP participants. The day concluded with our Design Challenge results and a panel featuring a variety of Cal Poly Engineering students focused on their leadership experiences and transitioning from high school to college.