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'Introduce a Kid to Engineering Day' at UNLV

Posted at 7:25 PM, Feb 23, 2019

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — UNLV’s College of Engineering hosted 120 students from Clark County School District for “Introduce a Kid to Engineer Day” on Feb. 23.

Students, ages six to 12, participated in several engineering activities mentored by UNLV alumni.

The purpose behind each session was to spark curiosity for how things work the way they do.

Cheryl Bella, the director of communications at the Howard Hughes College of Engineering at UNLV, told 13 Action News they want to inspire kids now so in the future they enroll in STEM-related courses.

"If we continue to do it through all grade levels we'll definitely help that pipeline of potential engineers in the future," said Bella.

Bella also said there’s a huge gap as far as skills of students coming out of college and high school with very little to no engineering or STEM-related skills.

Sophia Peña among other students built an arch bridge.

She said that was her favorite activity because she got to work with other kids her age.

"It took us a few tries to do it, but it was fun," said Sophia.

Sara Peña, Sophia's mother, wants her to be able to problem-solve.

“Society does a lot of telling kids what to think, not how to think. So, to go anywhere in life you need to be able to have the ability of how to think,’ said Peña.

To some of the kids, the activities might have been all fun-and-games, but little did they know their minds were thinking like engineers.

"You're able to see them test, fail, and try. Figure out what went wrong and rebuild it again,” said Bella.

UNLV alumni Louis DeMola volunteered his time in hopes to plant a seed of curiosity in the kids.

“Trying to give them an understanding of what engineering is, what science is, and what options they have for their future," said Demola.

The UNLV College of Engineering hosts “Introduce a Kid to Engineer Day” during National Engineers Week.