What does the Outreach Committee do?

The goal of the Outreach Committee is to get more girls interested in science and engineering. We work with local schools to share our enthusiasm and knowledge in the community and to spark interest in science and engineering, especially in young women. Throughout the year, we lead various events, many of which are recurring, so there are plenty of opportunities to get involved! If you have any questions about outreach or are interested in getting involved with the Outreach Committee or SWE at UIUC, contact Abbie Gerth at agerth2@illinois.edu or Molly McGiles at mcgiles2@illinois.edu.

Why do we need outreach activities?

Engineering has been a field traditionally dominated by men and we need to get the word out to girls about the amazing opportunities out there for women in engineering!  Showing young girls how cool science and engineering are can spark a lifelong interest and keep science and engineering as a potential career interest. The national SWE outreach page can be found here.

Events & Activities:

For Kids Only (FKO)

For Kids Only, or FKO, is an outreach program that involves weekly visits to classrooms at local elementary schools. In the past, we have worked with kindergarteners at Leal School in Urbana. During these visits, student volunteers from the UIUC section of SWE lead classroom activities and execute lesson plans to educate the kindergarten students on various topics in science and engineering. Although the material learned is important, the primary goal is to increase interest and excitement in the engineering fields and to show these children that science and engineering are accessible and really fun!

Engineering Open House (EOH)

EOH is an annual event run by students in the College of Engineering at UIUC. Many engineering organizations participate in the two-day showcase of the incredible engineering talent at this university. Every year, EOH features over 200 interactive demonstrations, four design competitions, entertainment, guest speakers, and campus tours. This free event is held every March and attracts more than 20,000 visitors every year. The Outreach Committee organizes the SWE demonstration at EOH. In 2014, Outreach worked on three projects. We worked with Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) to complete the dorm fire simulations. We also had a "Girls' Club" where girls used science to make their own lip balm, mirrors and jewelry.  We also had a carnival exhibit which included a mini roller coaster, duck shoot, and candy cannon.  This year, EOH will be held on March 13-14, 2015. More information about EOH can be found at http://eoh.ec.uiuc.edu/

Mommy, Me and SWE

Mommy, Me and Swe is an event that brings local elementary schools and their mothers to the Champaign Public Library for a day to explore engineering.  Last year, the event included an interactive Engineering Fair, where participants visited nine different fields of engineering and participated in avariety of hands-on activities. In the afternoon, girls learned about the engineering process and testedtheir design skills. They created a biomedical engineering device and a contraption to transport two Ping-Pong balls across the room via zip line. The participants remained engaged throughout the day and every survey indicated an increase in understanding of engineering.  

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

"Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day" is an international event celebrated during E-week. Our event will invite high school girls and parents for a whole day of exploring engineering through design challenges, tours, and guest speakers. 

Dads and Daughters do Science (DADDS) Day

"Dads and Daughters Do Science (DADDS) Day" is a day of fun science exploration for 1st-3rdgrade girls and their dads. Get excited for a morning full of hands-on science activities followed by a daddy-daughter design project in the afternoon!


Step-Up is a program where we visit a middle school science classroom once a month to discuss various topics pertaining to STEM fields.  In the past we have worked with a 7th grade classroom at Edison Middle School in Champaign, IL.  During our visits, SWE volunteers teach the students a short lesson and then will work on an experiment/project with the students.  Our lessons and activities are aimed to show students how engineers can change the world in every aspect of life.  We also encourage problem solving activities and working in groups among the students.  

Engineering Round Robin

Interested in the field of engineering? Want to know what exactly engineers do? The Engineering Round Robin will allow you to learn about all of the different engineering majors there are while you are able to do hands-on projects and activities corresponding to those majors.  Participants will be able to see all of the ways they can change the world in every area of engineering. This event is for girls 8th- 11th grade and will take place on September 27th, 2014 from 10am-2:30pm at the University of Illinois. (Sponsored in part by Exxon Mobile)

Computer Science Workshop

This year, SWE Outreach will partner with Women in CS to host a computer science workshop for middle school girls.  Attendees will learn basic programming skills as well as work with a LEGO NXT Robot.  We are excited to be working with Women in CS in order to expose more young girls to the wonderful world of computer science!