STEM

MIT Hosts Engineering Workshop for High School Girls

On Saturday, June 4, the MIT Lincoln Laboratory held a one-day, hands-on workshop for 40 high school girls to teach them introductory camera physics and technology.

The workshop, Girls Who Build Cameras, is part of the Girls Who Build series of workshops sponsored by MIT Lincoln Laboratory, MIT OpenCourseWare and SolidWorks. Girls Who Build aims to increase the number of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields by providing "educators and girls with curriculums that show what engineering is and how it is applied," according to information on the Girls Who Build site.

Participants in the Girls Who Build Cameras workshop worked in teams of four, with each team guided by a volunteer from the Lincoln Laboratory, MIT or one of various companies around Massachusetts. None of the girls had ever programmed before the workshop, but afterwards "90 percent said they wanted to continue learning to code," according to MIT News.

Activities in the Girls Who Build Cameras workshop included:

  • Tearing down a digital SLR camera;
  • Introduction to cameras;
  • Keynote address by Kristin Clark, a researcher from the Optical Engineering Group at Lincoln Lab, who spoke about her research in space cameras;
  • Building a camera using a Raspberry Pi single-board computer;
  • Keynote address by Uyanga Tsedev, a graduate student in mechanical engineering at MIT, who spoke about her research creating imaging probes for surgeons to identify tumors;
  • Introduction to image processing;
  • Learning to program Instagram filters using the Processing programming language; and
  • Demonstrations of a light-field camera, photogrammetry and 3D scanning.

The Girls Who Build Camera curriculum will be published on the MIT OpenCourseWare site, where anybody can access it.

Further information about the workshop series can be found on the Girls Who Build site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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