Earlier this summer, the BOLD Center hosted 30 female high school students from the Denver-Metro area in partnership with the Girls Inc. Eureka! Program. Through their participation in this program, these girls had been exposed to the prospect of higher education and STEM careers—meaning they came well-prepared with questions regarding how to be successful, and what it meant to be a college student.
Once the Q&A session was complete, the students were asked a question as to whether or not clean water was readily available throughout the world. Everyone immediately answered with a resounding, “no”.
Providing access to clean water is one of the grand challenges of engineering, and these students were asked to tackle this on a small scale, in 20 minutes. Engineering students, Jasmine Gamboa (EnvEngr, ‘20), Jennifer Murillo (MechEngr, ‘22), Sydney Joffrey (ChemEngr, EnvEngr’19), and Phillip Vo (ChemBioEngr, ‘20), led a water-filtration workshop in which each team was given three samples of dirty water from the campus’ Kittredge Pond, plus limited supplies including gauze pads, cotton balls and fabric. The goal was to develop three different water filters with the given materials and produce a clear water sample by the third design iteration.
The Girls Inc. participants not only saw their designs put to the test, but they also had a hands-on experience with a real-world engineering challenge—producing clean water. Most students were able to produce water samples that were significantly cleaner, but more importantly, all of them gained hands-on engineering experience.