are continuing their mentorship through the uCodeGirl STEM program
that runs from October through May, which brings together female STEM professionals and teen girls to build a support system for academic success. Here is a recap from their latest meeting with their mentors and mentees.
The specific goal of the program is to give girls a fun and inviting environment for them to explore STEM fields. To do this, Hannah and Sarah have tailored their project to what the group is interested in, devising a goal of developing an indoor tomato plant that will provide optimal growth conditions with as little human input as possible.
Hannah and Sarah educated the girls about soil permeability, infiltration, and soil textures to build on their current knowledge of understanding the importance of soil properties when growing plants. Their experimentation with soil permeability resulted in the group deciding that a mixture of pebbles on the bottom with gardening soil on top is the most efficient materials for a growing medium in their situation.
January Meeting: The Leaning Water Tower of
The uCodeGirl[s] convened again in early January, this time armed and ready to use their previously learned knowledge to design a central irrigation system for three separate potted plants. The mentors led the group through a design process that engineers use on a regular basis, covering steps such as:
- Design goals
- Design criteria
- Preliminary design
- Final design
- Cost estimation
Once designs were made, a variety of materials (such as tape, tubing, cups, and cloth) were used to bring their initial thoughts to reality. They were also able to provide their creations with equally creative names and to sign off on their irrigation systems within their very own Design Reports.
The group meets again in early February to continue tweaking their designs and to bring what they have on paper to a working prototype, with additional possible thought experiments including aspects such as light source, the shape of the pot, and coding for automated watering.
Stay tuned for their next update!
Hannah Rollin (left) and Sarah Walker (right) are engineers who work within HEI's water resources service sector in our Fargo location.