By Shirley Jackson
It would be hard to engineer a better day than the annual iCan Engineering Conference at Alabama Power Corporate Headquarters April 15.
More than 100 sixth-through eighth-grade students and their parents from across the state attended. Students filled their day with a variety of learning experiences, including competitions, engineering, and electrical and chemical activities.
The conference is a part of the iCan girls‘ school year curriculum, bringing students, parents, educators, iCan team members and other volunteers to kick off the program. Speakers included faculty from Auburn University and the program director for Gear UP Alabama.
Engineer Lakevia Bibb France, the adviser for the conference, works closely with a planning committee.
“The attendance has grown significantly this year,” France said. “People are spreading the word within the school systems, church organizations and social media outlets. We are excited to have people travel from across the state to the conference.”
Because France grew up in a small town, she was unaware of engineering opportunities. Since that time, she has worked to expose the field of engineering to as many girls as possible.
“This is a learning event for the parents as well,” France said. “Engineering faculty from colleges, universities and professional organizations spoke to the parents about how to get their girls prepared for college.
“I hope each girl who attends the conference walks away feeling they have made a permanent connection with a mentor,” she said. “I want the girls to feel someone is there who can provide guidance during the remainder of their lives. What makes this event worthwhile is when these girls return to Alabama Power as engineers. I can truly smile and say ‘Job well done.’”
“This project is a success due to the hard work and enthusiasm that goes into the project,” said Malcolm Franklin, Substation Construction manager. “iCan is a gift that keeps on giving and we are proud to give our support, devotion and time to such a great organization.”
The iCan mission focuses on empowering young female minds of today to engineer a better world for tomorrow.
To learn more about the iCan! Girls in Engineering, visit www.icanengineer.com.