Communities, like people, need a few basic things to function properly:
To provide all of these things, communities rely on several different systems of technology. Each system is made-up of structures, machines, tools, people, and processes. They are a community’s infrastructure.
These systems can be divided into categories:
All communities have each of these systems in some form. And a significant breakdown in any one of them can cause serious problems. All of these systems have something in common: engineers!
From 9-1-1 emergency dispatch systems to wastewater treatment facilities, every part of public infrastructure relies on some form of engineering.
Look around your community for the different systems in each of the categories listed above. Choose one system and do some research on how it works where you live. (It’s a big list to choose from, so find something that really interests you.)
Find one aspect or part of the system that can be improved and:
Did you know? By working through these steps, you are using key elements of engineering design to solve a problem. This will help you understand and write about your solution.
Elementary School Students (grades 3-5); Submissions must be 400 to 700 words.
Write a letter to your city or county council that describes the need for the improvement in your community infrastructure and the preferred solution from your research. Include a brief description of the challenges you identified and how you think engineers might address them.
Middle School Students in (grades 6-8); Submissions must be 600 to 1100 words.
Write a persuasive essay to present to your city or county council that makes the case for an infrastructure improvement in your community and your chosen solution to the problem. Be sure to fully define the problem and address the challenges engineers might face in implementing the improvements.
High School Students (grades 9-12); Submissions must be 1000 to 1500 words.
Write a summary report for your city or county council that makes the case for an infrastructure improvement in your community and your chosen solution to the problem. Fully define the problem and describe your solution in detail, including how and why it should be implemented. Explain what has already been tried or is already known about this type of solution and what would be new or innovative in your community. Describe how you will test or anticipate failure for any new innovations to minimize risk.
Submissions will be judged by a slate of volunteers that include professionals from various engineering fields.
Finalists will be judged by the EngineerGirl Steering Committee based on the following criteria:
Winners in each grade category will receive the prizes listed below:
First-place winners will be awarded $500.
Second-place entries will be awarded $250.
Third-place entries will be awarded $100.
All winning entries will be published on the EngineerGirl website.
Honorable Mention entries will not receive a cash award but will be published on the EngineerGirl website.
All essays must be original work, and resources must be clearly cited.
Middle and high school students should use the APA citation style.
Elementary school students may use simplified citations that include the following information for each reference (References are the resources you use to find information to write your letter):
For a chance to win up to $500, imagine how engineering can help your community. Then write a plea to your city or county council to make the case for an infrastructure improvement.