Parents and daughters were given 30 seconds to solve a problem before moving on to the next. (Emily Ferguson / The Signpost)
Parents and daughters were given 30 seconds to solve a problem before moving on to the next. (Emily Ferguson / The Signpost)

The brainpower of future engineers floated through the ballrooms of the Shepherd Union ballrooms at Weber State University on Saturday.

Parent/Daughter Engineering Day, which kicked off Friday night at WSU Davis campus and is sponsored by the Center for Technology Outreach, had over 75 sixth through ninth grade girls and their parents in attendance with interests in participating in hands on problem solving exercises.

According to Dana Dellinger, the director of the Center for Technology Outreach, this year, the workshop included two main focuses: biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering.

One of the most popular activities was giving the girls the challenge of creating a moving hydraulic dog from straws, pipe cleaners and water.

“They just had us build a dog with certain materials and then you had to make one part of the body move with hydraulics. So her tail moves,” Averi Melotti, 11, of Clearfield, said.

Melotti shares an interest in engineering with her father, Jason Dalton, who is studying material science and engineering at the University of Utah.

A hydraulic dog with a moving tail made by Averi Melotti, 11, and her father. (Emily Ferguson / The Signpost)
A hydraulic dog with a moving tail made by Averi Melotti, 11, and her father. (Emily Ferguson / The Signpost)

This is the fourth year of the event and each year brings more daughters and their parents.

“In fact, this year for the first time, we have a student and parent who came in to be advised at the College of Engineering, Applied Science and Technology (COAST) as a freshman and she had attended this [workshop],” Dellinger said.

In one activity, called the merry-go-round, the daughters had to work with their parent to come up with a solution to a problem in 30 seconds.

“It [the activity] gives parents a look into their daughter’s thinking and problem solving abilities,” Dellinger said.

Along with hands on activities, parents were separated from their daughters halfway through the workshop to be counseled in how to support their daughter if she chooses a career in this field.

“I like the stuff that we do here and learning the different stuff about engineering,” Sydney Carrigan, 13, from Davis County, said. “I know I want to be something that helps people.”

According to Dellinger, many girls who attend the workshop have some sort of engineering ties in their family.

“We reach out to all four districts around here,” Dellinger said. “Weber, Davis, Ogden and Morgan.”

According to Dellinger, the opportunity to participate in this workshop helps build confidence in girls’ instinctive engineering skills and interests.

Girls who attend are encouraged to pursue their dreams and are supported by successful, local female engineers, WSU faculty and staff and student volunteers.

The girls also have a chance to learn about engineering careers and strategies to encourage them to be ready and willing to tackle science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees.

“The interesting thing about [these workshops] is they’re all designed for problem solving,” Dellinger said.

Parents and daughters take a break at the annual Parent/Daughter Engineering Day at Weber State on Saturday. (Emily Ferguson / The Signpost)
Parents and daughters take a break at the annual Parent/Daughter Engineering Day at Weber State on Saturday. (Emily Ferguson / The Signpost)

For more information about the Parent/Daughter Engineering Day or the Family Engineering Day for students in third through seventh grade taking place this spring, visit the website or email Dana Dellinger at danadellinger@weber.edu.

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