SWE-NESS K-12 Outreach

SWE-NESS has educational outreach programs for youth of all ages, from elementary school through college. Our goal is to expand the image of engineering as a potential career for all young people, regardless of gender or race.

Members are encouraged to join in making our award-winning outreach programs fun and educational for all participants. ​

Annual Outreach Events:

New Library Outreach Program

Over the last year a number of libraries in Connecticut have reached out to us looking for hands on Library programs. During the month of July, SWE-NESS member Kim McLean ran a successful pilot program consisting of four different workshops at several libraries. Libraries provide a new venue for Engineering outreach for us and provide some real benefits and challenges. Library groups tend to be under 15 kids and generally last about an hour meaning we can provide a workshop with fewer volunteers and less of a time commitment per workshop. We also have greater latitude in setting dates that are convenient for the library as well as the volunteers.Our vision is to have four prepackaged workshops we could offer to libraries within our section area in RI and CT. We are still in the planning stages for this new program and plan on holding a introduction and training session for interested members this fall with a plan to officially kick the program off in time for Engineer’s Week in February. Workshops will be approximately one hour in length and be planned for 10-20 kids, depending on the size of the venue. The workshops will focus on the Design Squad Engineering Design Process and provide a hands on challenge they can take home.With only word of mouth advertising we have three more workshops on the calendar:

Saturday, Oct 1, Pinwheels and Puff-Mobiles at Gales Ferry Library in CT
Saturday, Nov 18, To the Moon: Touchdown at Bill Library, Ledyard Center, CT
Saturday, Feb 24, Pinwheels and Puff-Mobiles at Salem Free Library in CT.
Want to get involved? Email Kim at gsworkshops@sweness.org to let us know and we will make sure you are included in the training session! We will need a number of volunteers to help cover the individual requests we will be getting.

Engineers Week Library Outreach

Engineers Week book displays at local libraries promote STEM careers for both girls and boys by displaying STEM focused books with posters and bookmarks. This occurs yearly during Engineers Week in February throughout Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Providence Children’s Museum

Held every year at the Providence Children’s Museum during Engineer’s Week in February.

Girl Scout Badge Workshops at RI and CT Universities

Engineering Your Tomorrow
Physics is Phun

Junior age girl scouts rotate through hands-on activity stations learning about different types of engineering.  They go through exercises like building their own rolling toys to take home, designing an egg bungee jump, making an electrical circuit booklet to share with younger girls, designing a Rube Goldberg machine to crush cans, creating an engineering collage, and building a challenging paper tower.  Since the stations are run by engineering and science collegians, they can address any questions the girls (or you) may have on what courses to take for these careers. Girls will take home the Society of Women Engineers patch in addition to some of their engineering activities. The event is run and sponsored by SWE – New England Shoreline Section. The cost is $3 per child. The badges are shown below.

Certificate of Achievement

High School administrators, teachers or counselors may submit a request on behalf of 2 students (one boy/one girl) each year to be presented with the SWE NESS Certificate of Achievement. Requests are accepted between the months of February and May. Please contact Emily Pietrzak to make a request at Emily.sweness@gmail.com.

RI Science Fair Judging

More info coming soon.

Connecticut Invention Convention

More info coming soon.

Other Events

Girl Scout Senior Leadership Conference (Science & Technology) in March.

Girl Scout Think Like an Engineering Journey.

Design, Discover, Build, Teach! Girl Scout overnight event with High School age girls, encouraging them to pursue a STEM education while we do hands-on on STEM activities.  Due to the small group size, we really get to interact and get to know these girls over the course of the evening.  Activities usually draw from Design Squad Activities guides.

Girl Scout Leap Bot Design Workshop. Part of the Design, Discover, Build, Teach event at Pattagansett in East Lyme, CT.  Help Design, Discover, Build, Teach! and lead a Brownie Badge workshop.  Groups of 2 or 3 third graders will be building leap bots to earn one of the mechanical design badges. What’s a Leap Bot?  Leap Bots are built from thread spools and use springs to “leap” up a dowel. • Joint events with the local collegiate sections.


SWENext is a way for students to become part of the Society of Women Engineers through the age of 18. Become part of SWE and #BeThatEngineer! Joining is free. Who can be a SWENexter? Any girl 13 or older may join SWENext. For those younger than 13, a parent will need to be the primary contact. We also encourage parents to join regardless of the age of their daughter. Click here for more information.

Sponsor Outreach Events

If you or your company would like to sponsor an outreach event, please visit our Sponsor page to learn more.

For questions on any of these programs, or if you would like to help us with one of these, please contact Outreach Chair.