On Sunday, March 6th, ERT staff members Dorian DiPeppe, Katie Kirk, and Liang Kuang attended the 2016 “Girl Power” event hosted by Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). The annual event provides middle- and high-school girls an opportunity to learn about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Girl Power is a collaborative effort between APL, the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County, and the Maryland Space Business Roundtable.
ERT participated in the event with an oceanography theme with Liang presenting ocean engineering and modeling and Katie providing a “build a buoy” project for the attending girls. The ocean modeling presentation attracted a more cerebral crowd wishing to discuss the subtleties and uses for ocean models while the buoy project provided a hands-on opportunity to think through solutions to real-world challenges.
The objective of the buoy project was to build a buoy that would not only float but would carry a payload of golf balls. Children amassed around the tank of water, buckets of pipes, golf balls, and Frisbees which were supplied as building tools. Some of the results were comical, while others showed a level of deep thought and engineering skills. Katie discussed the various buoy designs used to monitor the ocean, specifically the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System (CBIBS) that is used to continuously monitor the Bay, for which she is the Lead Engineer.
The build a buoy project was a bit too successful. Katie and Dorian could all but keep up with scattered pipes, splashing water, and the dismantling of buoys to recycle the components for other children. Liang also assisted with the build-a-buoy project.