By Lindsay Seagraves/News Editor
Alabama Power held an iCan Girls in Engineering Conference at Rainbow Middle School on Tuesday, July 29 at 9 a.m.
The iCan conference is sponsored by a team of Alabama Power/Southern Company female engineers who focus on encouraging middle school girls to consider engineering as a future career.
This is the first year that iCan has been offered to girls in Etowah County schools. Twenty-six girls from each Etowah County middle school chosen by their science and math teachers attended the event.
The girls’ parents were also invited to attend the conference to learn more about the engineering field, universities offering engineering degrees and career opportunities.
The purpose of the conference is to help the girls understand what engineering is, what engineers do and how they do it.
Alabama Power Distribution Engineer Jennifer Robinson is the Easter Division iCan lead and planned the conference agenda with Melissa Shields, who oversees secondary curriculum, educational leadership and continuous improvement for the Etowah County Board of Education.
“Jennifer has a passion for spreading the knowledge of engineering with young girls,” said Alabama Power Communications Specialist Jacki Thacker, who also attended the conference. “She is an excellent role model for these girls.”
Engineering projects took place during activity time at the conference, like one project that had the girls building burglary alarms for their bedrooms doors.
Lauren Moore, an 8th grade Glencoe Middle School student going into her freshman year at Glencoe High School, attended the conference because her science teacher, Coach Wes Weems, told her about it.
“It was something I wanted to try for a different experience,” she said. “Being an engineer a possibility of something I want to do.”
She and her table worked together with the guidance of Alabama Power female engineers to build the burglar alarm, made from tape, batteries and paper.
Lunch was provided for the girls and their parents during the conference. The girls were also able to attended several engineering classes during the day and hear women engineers speak about their experience.
Presentations, project judging and awards were given at the end of the conference, which lasted until 2 p.m.
“iCan focuses on making young girls aware, and excited about, the field of engineering and the opportunities that come with a degree in engineering. Engineering is a field that most girls never consider but by attending iCan their eyes are opened to new possibilities.,” said Thacker.