More than 900 area middle-schoolers participated in two-day event, held in conjunction with Engineers Week 2024, featuring hand-on demos and games led by Lehigh faculty and students

In honor of Engineers Week 2024, Lehigh University's P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science partnered with the Da Vinci Science Center (DSC) of Allentown, PA, to support its “Women in Science & Engineering” days. 

The Feb. 21-22 event showcased careers in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) with particular focus on engaging women and girls. 

Lehigh faculty and students led demonstrations and games for visitors, including more than 900 middle-school students from schools in Allentown, Bethlehem, and surrounding districts. The hands-on activities covered topics such as robotics, electrical engineering, materials science, chemical engineering, optimization, bioengineering, and coding.

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the educators from DSC,” says Chayah Wilbers, Outreach Manager, Rossin College. “Engineers Week is a celebration of our discipline, with Feb. 22 specifically designated as ‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.’ We are delighted to have found the perfect venue to do our part to support the growth and development of Lehigh Valley's science and engineering community, working with a team of educators who are committed year-round to bringing science to life and lives to science!"

Wilbers says the event with DSC is one part of a broader movement underway at Lehigh University to put even stronger emphasis on connecting with the Lehigh Valley community. 

"A key initiative within our university's strategic plan, Inspiring the Future Makers, calls for expanded partnerships and community engagement," she says. "We're finding new and interesting ways to make these connections happen, and partnering with our faculty and students to enable their passion for science and engineering to inspire ‘future makers’ all across the Lehigh Valley, and beyond." 

Wilbers says this includes partnering with community STEM leaders such as DSC, and transforming activities and demos used in on-campus camps into educational modules that can be delivered to the community through a number of channels and formats, including school visits and field trips.

Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951, Engineers Week (Feb. 18-24, 2024) is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce. The weeklong 2024 Engineers Week theme —Welcome to the Future—is about celebrating today’s achievements and paving the way for a brighter and more diverse future in engineering.

The Da Vinci Science Center’s roots were planted in 1992 when Lehigh University formed the Science Model Area Resource Team (SMART) to provide interactive science experiences for local students. The SMART Center left Lehigh to become an independent nonprofit in 1999. In the fall of 2005, the Science Center moved to its current 29,000-square-foot facility in Allentown and has become a major attraction with exhibits and programs that make science fun and accessible for learners of all ages.

The Rossin College thanks all of the faculty, students, and staff who brought their creative ideas and energy to the event through the following presentations: 

  • Sphero Fun with Robots! Kallie Ziltz, teaching assistant professor, Computer Science and Engineering; Ariellle Carr, assistant professor, Computer Science and Engineering
  • Spark Your Curiosity! How binary code interacts with circuits Jennifer Winikus, teaching associate professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering: 
  • Printing like a Mussel Niels Holten-Andersen, associate professor, Bioengineering and Materials Science and Engineering
  • Memory Shape Alloy Helen Chan, New Jersey Zinc Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
  • Augmented Reality Joan Stanescu, visiting scholar and lab manager, Nano | Human Interfaces (NHI) Presidential Initiative 
  • The Burrito Game and Traveling Salesman Ana Alexandrescu, professor of practice, Industrial and Systems Engineering; director, Healthcare Systems Engineering; director, Lehigh ISE Outreach Program
  • Chemical Ping-Pong AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers) Student Club 
  • Breaking the Code: Love Lehigh (Binary Code Keychains) Computer Science and Engineering students


Closeup of participants hands picking beads for bracelet coding activity

In the Binary Code Keychains activity led by Lehigh CSE students, participants practiced coding skills to create a Valentine's Day themed accessory.

Chayah Wilbers and Ana Alexandrescu supervise activities

Professor Ana Alexandrescu (front) and Outreach Manager Chayah Wilbers lead hands-on activities during Women in Science & Engineering days at Da Vinci Science Center.