From left, Girls in Engineering Academy students Madison Eason, Morgan Young and Nina Seaberry gain hands-on experience with motorcycles while learning from Amber Saric, a two-wheeler and power sports riding division employee at Bosch, at the Girls@Bosch event July 26.

From left, Girls in Engineering Academy students Madison Eason, Morgan Young and Nina Seaberry gain hands-on experience with motorcycles while learning from Amber Saric, a two-wheeler and power sports riding division employee at Bosch, at the Girls@Bosch event July 26.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


Bosch hosts 3rd annual Girls@Bosch STEM event for female students

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published August 6, 2019

 The Girls in Engineering Academy students practice robotics skills with the Plymouth-Canton FIRST Robotics team at the Girls@Bosch event.

The Girls in Engineering Academy students practice robotics skills with the Plymouth-Canton FIRST Robotics team at the Girls@Bosch event.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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FARMINGTON HILLS — In an attempt to attract more girls to science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers, Bosch hosted its third annual “Girls@Bosch” outreach event with the Detroit-based Girls in Engineering Academy July 26.

The Girls in Engineering Academy falls under the program umbrella of the Engineering Society of Detroit.

More than 30 sixth through eighth grade students spent their afternoon at Bosch’s headquarters in Farmington Hills, learning from female associates and leaders at Bosch, as well as the Plymouth-Canton FIRST Robotics team, for which Bosch is a main sponsor. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

The program began with breakfast while the girls learned about Bosch’s facilities and operations. A presentation on the importance of STEM careers — with examples like cellphone technology, the automobile industry and drone utilization — came next, followed by an ice-breaker activity educating them on six famous women inventors and how they contributed to the field of science.

The program kicked into high gear as the girls broke off into three rotating groups for demonstrations and hands-on experience about the world of robotics, the types of engineering put into the safety features of motorcycles and a Polaris Slingshot, and the STEM-based capabilities found from using a 3D printer.

After the demonstrations, the girls were given the opportunity to sit, eat and ask questions of female engineers at Bosch. All 30 girls participated in a programming exercise before the event wrapped up.

“The purpose of the event is to show young girls the exciting opportunities they have in the STEM field and to show them that being in science or technology, particularly engineering, is not boring,” said Michelle Janulis, a senior project manager at Bosch. “You don’t just sit at your computer. There’s so much fun you can have and so many ways you can influence the world.”

It’s the company’s third year hosting this program, and they’re always looking for ways to improve, said Janulis, by listening to the feedback from their female participants on what activities need more time or attention.

One of those activities is the programming segment, which had increased this year from 60 to 90 minutes per participant request.

Andrea Henson, a chaperone for the Girls in Engineering Academy, said she’s been to this event every year and believes that because it’s hands-on and immersive, her students are able to learn more than they could from a lecture series.

“I feel like the most engaging presentations are the ones the girls get to do, because they may find something they are intimidated by, and they realize they can do this or learn something from that experience of having their hands on something, and being able to touch and feel it,” Henson said.

“Seeing someone who may look like them, could represent them, and having that vision that it’s something that’s a possibility for them too” is another thing Henson hopes her students can take away from the program.

While data shows there’s still a disparity in the number of women versus men in STEM careers, that gap is shrinking. Janulis said that in the end, that’s Bosch’s main goal for the event.

“Where we were 50 years ago to 10 years ago to now, and where we will be in the future, we’re constantly evolving. … However, there’s still a gap,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons why we like to do these events. We want to showcase what engineers do and show these girls that women can do anything if they put their minds to it.”

Nina, 11, one of the sixth grade participants, said seeing other women put this event on does make a difference in her outlook.

“I feel there should be more women in the engineering industry and not just in STEM, but everywhere,” she said. “To see all these women here is really seeing how women can actually do these things.”

Overall, Janulis said she hopes the girls can leave with a better understanding of the options and possibilities out there for them and to learn the sky’s the limit.

“There’s so many ways you can apply this knowledge, and there’s no limit to what they can do,” she said. “That’s really what we want them to take away from this. We want them to just be exposed to the options and have a really fun day learning.”

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