Monday, May 21, 2012

Visit from a future pilot

Kim Kast, amazing afterschool math teacher at John J. Flynn Elementary, contributed this piece. Thank you, Kim!
Last week, third grade math mania students enjoyed a visit from a special guest, University of Vermont student Sylvia Stevens-Goodnight. Sylvia just completed her sophomore year of study in the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. Her concentration is mechanical engineering, and she told the students she is one of only seven women in her program; she encouraged the students in their studies of math, and wanted to especially encourage girls to consider pursuing a career involving the study of math and science. Sylvia described some career-related experiences, such as trying on a pilot's suit, sitting at the controls of a jet plane, and even being ejected from the seat of the plane. Sylvia explained to the students that engineers sometimes design new products, invent new machines, and innovate new ideas. The students were surprised to learn that engineers could even design video games.

All of the students had many questions about engineering, and of course, about college life in general. The third graders couldn't believe that a student could have seconds, or even thirds, on ice cream for dessert... every night! Sylvia assured them (speaking from experience) that after a few days of all-you-can-eat ice cream, they would know why their mothers wisely told them, "Eat your vegetables!"