Imagineer Day inspires young students to become engineers

Kailee Delongchamp, a junior civil engineering major, teaches kids how to make soap bubbles. Photo credit: Caio Calado

For six hours on Saturday, local elementary school students blew bubbles, raced cars and built lasers at the third annual Imagineer Day.

The event, which was put on by Chico State’s Society of Women Engineers, is intended to give kids a taste of what engineering is like and to inspire them to potentially pursue it as a career in the future.

About 150 students from kindergarten through eighth grade showed up to the event, which consisted of eight activity stations. Each station had a different engineering project for them to participate in, such as learning to make bridges out of straw, extracting DNA from strawberries or creating rubber-band-powered cars.

“We want to show these kids at a young age that engineering is really fun,” said Michelle Rodriguez, the club’s president. “It’s really hands-on, and it’s really interactive. When we get them in here, and we show them how much fun they can have and all of the possibilities, it turns on that light bulb in their head.”

The event wasn’t limited to just the kids. Angelica Fox attended with her daughter Calista, alongside several other parents.

“This is her first experience,” Fox said, “and I want to say it’s gonna open up a whole new door.”

Though the event was intended to inspire girls to become interested in engineering, 10 percent of the spots were set aside for boys as well.

Imagineer Day is just a few years old, but the number of attendees has steadily grown.

“Each year we’ve gotten a little bigger,” said Katie Frazer, club treasurer.

With a solid turnout this year, Frazer expects to have even more kids come out for the next Imagineer Day, she said.

“When we have the kids leave and they’re really excited,” Rodriguez said, “and they tell us ‘I wanna be an engineer’ — that’s what makes it all worth it.”

Joe Silva can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.