Strongwell Interns Connect with TechGYRLS
As a hallmark “girls-only” outreach component within the YWCA of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, the YWCA TechGYRLS program promotes educational youth development opportunities for girls between the ages of 9-14.
One objective of the program is to work with local partners to boost STEM outreach opportunities for girls. During summers, the program broadens its objective for enrichment activities to empower girls to examine STEM activities and careers.
This summer, the YWCA TechGYRLS needed an opportunity to see science, math, chemistry, manufacturing, and design in action. In doing so, they requested a site visit to Strongwell.
In an effort to showcase youth involvement and STEM activities, Strongwell utilized Abbey Williams and Meredith McClintic, industrial engineering interns from the University of Tennessee, to coordinate and plan their visit.
To showcase the act of pultrusion, the interns worked with Strongwell’s lab to acquire a suitable symmetrical pultruded mold for students to cast their own composite shapes with plaster, mats, and rovings. The interns used this exercise to discuss the differences between symmetrical and asymmetrical pultrusions and highlighted the roles of each material piece.
As the molds were drying, the interns led the students on a tour of the manufacturing facility to showcase how pultrusion machines operated and the role of testing within Strongwell’s research and laboratory departments.
Upon their return, students and the interns discussed how resin formulas can change with different chemistry applications. Meredith and Abbey utilized slime formation to showcase how resins can be manipulated. Students were then able to formulate their own slime with ingredients to demonstrate viscosity, color, scents, pliability, additives, and stiffness.