Young Minds Treated to Educational Fun

Achievement date: 

Researchers from the Center for Structured Organic Particulate Systems (C-SOPS), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) based at Rutgers University, partnered with the Women in Engineering Program (WIEP) at Purdue University to host an outreach exhibition for female students. The event, called Engineering FYI: For Your Imagination, was sponsored by WIEP and held on July 13, 2013.


Engineering FYI was developed to increase interest in engineering education, research, and careers among female students. About a hundred sixth- to eighth-grade girls and their parents were invited to the Purdue campus for the event. The sessions were designed to teach them engineering concepts, develop their leadership and teamwork skills, and make them aware of the societal impact of engineering careers.


-SOPS contributed to Engineering FYI by organizing an “Explore Engineering!” session. The interactive 45-minute project, titled “Why are grain silos tall and narrow while oil tanks are short and wide?” consisted of using popcorn kernels in a cylinder to simulate a grain silo. The students used scales at the base of long cylinders to measure the change in force as they piled the kernels in higher and higher. The point was to emphasize how silos and tankers support the forces caused by grains and oil, respectively, and why one has to stand straight up and the other has to lie on its side.

Engineering FYI was received very well. Purdue’s WIEP has planned another edition for July 2014.