Project DIY, a summer camp funded by the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, focuses on engaging high school grade girls’ interest in pursuing Advanced Manufacturing / STEM careers. Twenty-six students from five local high schools completed one-week camps in which they gained hands-on experience in Engineering Graphics/CAD, 3D Printing, Machining, Welding, and Architecture. The goal of Project DIY is to foster and encourage female engagement in advanced manufacturing and STEM careers. This year's camp themes were “We Can Do It” and “Do It Yourself!”
Participating schools included East High School, CEC Middle College, Arrupe Jesuit, Thomas Jefferson, and Denver Center for International Studies. The first part of each day consisted of team- and confidence-building activities and learning information on college. The camp participants went on four different industry tours: RNLDesign, Sundyne Corp., Eldon James, and Clear Intentions. Female guest speakers provided powerful presentations about how women are paving the way in STEM/Advanced Manufacturing careers.
In addition, all camp participants participated in 3D printing, machining and welding projects. The camp ended with a graduation ceremony for family, friends, and community partners to showcase the students’ learning. Below is a breakdown of each day at the camp.
During the first two days of the camp, the students
The architecture lab was added to the camp this year because our participants last year expressed strong interest in this field. Mark Broyles, chair of the architecture department, had students try contour drawing, perspective design, Origami, and a guest speaker from India spoke on what it’s like to design projects for communities. In addition, career opportunities in architecture were presented.
The girls walked to RNL Design Denver, a downtown architectural firm, where two female architects spoke to them about careers in that field and gave them a tour of their design center. The girls completed an architectural drawing using SketchUp, an origami building project, and participated in an architecture photo scavenger hunt in downtown Denver.
Debra Wilcox, Owner of the 3D Printing Store, spoke to the girls about her experience as a woman in a field where women are under-represented. Debra provided insight and inspiring advice to the students telling them that they could truly do anything. She also shared her experience in the growing 3D printing industry. She brought some of her company’s innovative projects to show the group and highlighted the endless possibilities in the future of 3D printing.
Participants in the camp took an industry tour and watched presentations from Sundyne Corp & Eldon James, two local companies.
Sundyne Corp. designs, manufactures and supports industrial pump and compressor products for the process fluid and gas industries. At Sundyne, they met mechanical engineers and saw a part being made on a 5-axis CNC machine.
The tour also included lessons in the importance of safety from Sarah Kaiman, a member of the Denver chapter of the Society for Safety engineers provided an explanation of safety warnings and an introduction to the field of industrial hygiene of the local chapter of the American Society for Safety Engineers.
Eldon James, a women-owned plastic injection molding company, manufactures a wide range of standard and custom hose fittings, including adapters, couplers, elbows, reducers and bulkheads, as well as many specialized connector configuration. Here the girls watched plastic parts being molded. The Colorado Chapter of Women in Manufacturing (WIM), also spoke to the girls about careers in manufacturing.
Janet Colvin, Manufacturing Pathways Coordinator, incorporated activities designed to improve spatial, teamwork, and communication skills. The goal of these was to walk the girls through the multiple steps of manufacturing—from inventing to designing to building.
Machining instructors Allan Barker, Eric Miller and machining student Robin Bathurst, provided an overview of machining processes and safety requirements. Participants then observed demonstrations on CAM software, running manual machines, and CNC machine technology. The girls used the manual mills and lathes and machined a hole in a CNC-machined medallion. Trish Mulkey, former CCD machining student and supervisor at a machine shop, lead a teambuilding ‘manufacturing mafia’ game and a trivia game on machining concepts.
For welding, the girls used both simulators and actual welding equipment under faculty supervision. They had the opportunity to meet and interact with manufacturing college students at CCD's Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC). In the afternoon, they toured Clear Intentions, a glass recycling company.
Stacey Bibik, CEO of Focused On Machining, spoke about careers in manufacturing and machining and steps to get into those. Kat Ludeman, a recent mechanical engineer graduate, shared some background in what it’s like to be a female student in a male-dominated field and provided background into the various facets of mechanical engineering
Participants took a field trip to Clear Intentions, a woman-owned and operated manufacturing business that diverts glass from landfills and processes it into a high-quality crushed glass called “cullet,” which is used in the manufacturing of new glass bottles, terrazzo, and fiberglass insulation. Clear Intentions helps reduce landfill waste, reduce manufacturing emissions, and brings communities together around glass recycling through cause-branding efforts.
In addition to touring the facility, Brittany Evans (president) shared her professional journey, which resulted in turning a school project into a successful woman-owned business. Brittany stressed how important math and science are and sent a message of “It’s okay to be the smart girl in class.” Camp participants participated in an activity that explored the chemical compounds used in colored glass.
Jessica Schechter provided background on the history of women in welding, a welding demonstration and then girls took turns using welding simulators. Students who were interested in getting more hands-on experience had the opportunity to try welding with the hands-on guidance and direction of the instructor Schechter. Art Padilla, CEC Middle College’s welding instructor also provided assistance. The girls completed an activity on reading types of welds, labeling, and blueprint symbols. Students wrapped up the hands-on component of the day by creating DIY initials using the plasma cutter.
The camp culminated in an hour-long ceremony and overview of the week that was shared with families and friends of graduates, Denver Public Schools partners, CCD staff and other stakeholders/supporters of Project DIY. Teams of girls presented posters to describe each day’s activities. The students took away knowledge, insight in to different careers, and a sense of empowerment because they learned that as girls/women, “We can do it!” As a way to recognize them for completing one full week of camp, students received incentives, a Certificate of Completion, and a unique gift as an appreciation of attending the Camp.
CCD is hosting a get-together and volunteer opportunities for the girls including Kata training from Manufacturer’s Edge, a Manufacturing Day event, and an international Maker Faire. These events will provide additional training and follow-up for the participants.