Stanford Professor Ada Poon gave 22 female high school students a chance to explore introductory concepts about electricity and electronics during a week-long program called Girlz Gone Wireless (GGW).
Offered for the first time this summer at Stanford, the program was hosted Professor Poon and her lab members in the Stanford Electrical Engineering (EE) department. The week-long workshop gave the 9th and 10th grade students a chance to build various projects using the lab equipment, tools, and kits.
The five day program culminated with each student building their own cell phone charger and a wireless speaker.
Professor William Cruz of Los Medanos College and Stanford EE PhD candidate Kamal Aggarwal (pictured below, back row) led the daily sessions. EE's Instructional Labs Manager, Steven Clark, provided hardware and tools.
Other Stanford faculty, staff, and researchers also presented lectures and shared personal experiences at the Girlz Gone Wireless sessions, covering topics like solar cells, wireless medical devices, and interaction design.
Anjali Datta and Irena Tammy Fischer-Hwang, both EE PhD candidates, encouraged the participants to consider joining organizations that would help them grow as students and professionals. They introduced the GGW to three relevant groups: WEE (Women in Electrical Engineering), WISE (Women in Science and Engineering), and SWE (Society of Women Engineers).
Girlz Gone Wireless was free and open to local students with a minimum 3.5 GPA interested in engineering.
Participants were enthusiastic about experiencing the lab environment, and learning and applying the concepts. "On Monday I didn't know what any of the tools or meters were for, and now I know what they are and how to use all of them," one student said.
Professor Poon hopes that many of the young women will set their sites on studying electrical engineering.
"I hope they'll find the lessons interesting and experience fewer hurdles with studying EE or any other engineering field," Poon said. "So many girls applied for the program but we had to limit it because of the size of our lab," she added. "I know it's a commitment for the students and their parents to come every day, especially during their summer."
Professor Poon closed the program by giving each participant a certificate and encouraging them to continue to grow their interest in engineering.
Several Girlz Gone Wireless participants pose with Professor Ada Poon (far right, front row), Prof. William Cruz of Los Medanos College, and Stanford EE PhD candidate Kamal Aggarwal (back row).
Professor Poon's Lab works on implantable bio-medical devices. The wireless, rechargeable devices may assist in controlling prosthetic limbs for amputees; providing medicine or therapeutic relief; and possibly treating diseases with electronics rather than medication.
Visit EE Student Organizations page to learn more about WEE (Women in EE) and other student organizations.
Stanford's Office of Science Outreach (OSO) assisted in this program.