Role with it December 12, 2014Posted by mareserinitatis in education, engineering, work.
Tags: communication, engineering, women in engineering, work
I am always nervous when I have to deal with the middle and high school crowd. I’ve had such mixed results in the past. A couple years ago, I helped out with an astronomy workshop for middle school girls. My job was fairly easy: I just had to help them find the sun in some solar telescopes. It was pretty obvious, though, that the girls in the last group just weren’t interested and wanted to be done. That may have been the time of day, but they weren’t particularly subtle.
I was therefore nervous when I was asked to give a tour of my workplace to a group of high school girls. How in the world do I keep them interested?!
While we were waiting for the last couple people to turn up, I started out by asking where they were from. This was a good move: I found out they all went to my old high school, and so we talked about some of the teachers there. I think that having a way to connect was helpful for all of us.
It also turned out that they were already rather interested in the topic and had lots of good questions and comments. After I thought we were done, one of them asked another question which led us into another part of the building and looking at even more stuff than I had anticipated. They didn’t seem all that eager to leave at the end, and I’d wished I had more to share with them.
I know that doing tours is a formality, but it’s nice when the people are actually interested. It makes it seem less like work and more about conveying how exciting it is to be an engineer.