October 23, 2006
Last week, three ECE faculty members introduced girls to career options within the field, as part of a high school day planned by Carnegie Mellon's student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).
Jim Hoburg explained that magnetic levitation is an example of the relationship between basic physics and engineering technology, Tom Sullivan showed students how to assemble their own electronic circuit kit, and Marios Savvides demonstrated biometric identification, including fingerprint and face detection, using signal and image processing.
ECE graduate student Ramzi Abiantun assisted his advisor, Savvides, while Sullivan was aided by graduate student Nicole Saulnier, senior Christina Hallock, and sophomore Rebecca Levin.
Anne Fisler, whose father is an ECE alumnus, enjoyed the circuit project because it was hands-on. She and Shana Kuhn are seniors in Lori Naser's gifted class at McGuffey High School.
"Because I know that I am good in math and science, I wanted to learn more," Shana said, adding that she participated in the field trip to find out how she could apply her strengths to a vocation. Both girls are considering careers in engineering.
According to the SWE website, each year the group hosts over 300 high school girls from nearby Pittsburgh schools, to teach them about the different engineering disciplines. In addition to electrical and computer engineering, students could also attend sessions in biomedical, chemical, civil and environmental, materials science, and mechanical engineering, as well as engineering and public policy. They were guided on campus tours and had time to ask SWE members about engineering, college life, and admissions at Carnegie Mellon.
Other SWE outreach programs include a career guidance workshop for girls in Pittsburgh's public schools, a technical opportunities conference, and a technical internship expo.
From left to right: McGuffey High School students Shana Kuhn and Anne Fisler practice soldering a circuit with their teacher, Lori Naser.
ECE Professor James Hoburg explains electromagnetic levitation.
Marios Savvides, ECE Research Scientist, demonstrates an iris recognition system.