Spark Events Inspire Girls to Dream Big

Burns & McDonnell employees show girls what is possible through a career in engineering.


When they’re shown what engineers do, 76% of girls get interested in engineering. By partnering with STEM-leading companies like Burns & McDonnell, we are encouraging girls to look toward a career in the world’s fastest growing fields; science, technology, engineering and math.

We were honored to host our 2nd Spark Event of the year with a focus on engineering. Spark Events provide girls an opportunity to try out activities that STEM professionals do every day and connect with inspiring role models.

Our Burns & McDonnell event gave Cadette through Ambassador Girl Scouts an inside look at how engineering plays a role in our daily lives and favorite products. Girls learned about how potato chips are created and packaged on a production line. Every detail from the potatoes being sliced, cooked in swim lanes of oil and packaged takes a team of engineers to make possible. The girls listened intently to the presentation and then asked some fantastic questions like how does the flavored powder get on the chips or if everything is pre-programmed why do chips come out in different shapes and sizes.

Following the potato chip presentation and Q&A, girls had an opportunity to try out their engineering skills with a couple of hands-on activities. The first activity tested their communication, observation and listening skills – skills the best engineers hone and utilize every day. The girls each selected a position: builder, observer, relayer and supervisor. The builder sat at one table with all the supplies and waited for instructions from the relayer. The relayer received her instructions from the observer who was the only one to see the original design. The relayer then passed information to the builder while the supervisor supported and could answer the builder’s question with a yes or no. It was so interesting to see the teamwork and communication skills the girls exhibited as they put their designs together!

The second activity of the night enabled girls to use their imagination and critical thinking skills to develop a structure using supplies like cardboard tubes, tinfoil, tape, a toy car and dominoes that ultimately when put into motion would pop a balloon at the end. Another great activity to observe: girls were really excited and worked together to try different things to reach their objective of popping the balloon.

Burns & McDonnell employees were incredible and interacted so well with girls. All of the facilitators were female engineers leading projects and such fantastic role models for our next generation of leaders. We are so appreciative of their generous partnership!

If you haven’t tried out a Spark Event, check out the upcoming events in 2014-2015 . We can’t wait to see you at the next event!


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