SOLIDWORKS Promotes Women in Engineering

SOLIDWORKS Education Community promotes WiE, roominate, & Fab Labs

In this video Bre Pettis of MakerBot gets the ball rolling to promote Women in Engineering at SOLIDWORKS World 2015. Marie Planchard of SOLIDWORKS then talks of strategies to get women and girls involved in engineering from awards, toys, and maker spaces.

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Transcript For This Video

Bre Pettis: How many people in the audience have a daughter? Or more than one daughter? Just out of curiosity. Keep your hands up.  I’d just like to say it’s our job to inspire them to be the next generation of innovators.

Shawn Wasserman: Hi, this is Shawn Wasserman, education editor of ENGINEERING.com. I’m here with Marie Planchard, director of Education Community at SOLIDWORKS, and we’re at SOLIDWORKS World 2015. So, we had some really interesting guests up today. We had Bre from Makerbot. Can you tell us a little bit about what he was talking about when it comes to women in engineering?

Marie Planchard: I was really excited to see Bre onstage. I knew about his background starting Makerbot, but what really was great for me is I saw a picture of his daughter and a Stratasys machine, and how he was saying that we need to encourage more girls in engineering, and that there was a lot of dudes in the audience at SOLIDWORKS World, which is true. Today I was really trying to focus on the woman engineer, and that was my direction to encourage the SOLIDWORKS community to do more, starting at little girls.

Shawn: Which is great because you had roominate up there as well.

Marie: Yes. This is a new partnership with us. roominate makes this great toy, this engineering construction toy targeted at girls to entice them about stem education. It was started by an electrical engineer, Bettina Chen, who I interviewed, and Alice, her partner. It starts out on the box looking like a dollhouse, but the whole idea with roominate, you can take all the pieces apart and make a rocket ship or a playground.

Shawn: You also mentioned the Women in Engineering award from SOLIDWORKS.

Marie: Last year when we came back from SOLIDWORKS World we kind of spun off a project saying, “Hey, there really wasn’t a lot of women engineers at SOLIDWORKS. How can we call attention to this? How can we recognize the women in our community?” So we created this Women in Engineering recognition program where our users nominate a woman to be recognized. Over the past couple of months we’ve had some great winners. We had a student, a researcher, a CEO, and a product designer. Here at SOLIDWORKS World we actually had one other recipient, Rachel York, a technical support engineer for Fischer/Unitech in St. Louis. It was great to see her reaction, the audience clapping for her and cheering her on. These girls are strong and determined, they’re breaking the stereotypes down. They’re not on the sidelines, they’re front and center, and that’s what I’d like to see as an engineer.

Shawn: You’re also a great supporter of the Fab Lab. Can you explain about them?

Marie: Sure. We started our sponsorship with the Fab Foundation this year. They’re responsible for about four hundred Fab Labs and 50 Fab academies. They have this whole educational outreach for little kids, little girls, teenage girls, and women. Women that want to start their own businesses, entrepreneurship. They’re promoting that, and we’re excited to be a part of it.

Shawn: I’m also really excited about that. It’s great to get kids and women excited about engineering. We really need to get more out there.

Marie: We certainly do. I really believe our community can make a big difference. Yesterday, last night, just sitting around and talking to users. They’re just asking me more and more questions on how they can help their daughters, their nieces, their friends’ kids next door get more in