Earlier this summer, two Duke students, Kendall and Mikayla, started the Engineering Club at WISER. They taught the girls how to make flashlight circuits and then used locally available materials such as water bottles and paper to build functional flashlights. When the next step of the project fell through, there was some concern that the Engineering Club would not continue. That concern was entirely unnecessary. As with everything they do, the WISER girls have continued the club with confidence, passion, and skill. I am enjoying working with the club as a “leader”, but I also can see how unnecessary I am. I have no doubt that the girls have the drive to continue the Engineering Club long after the Duke students leave.
Just last week, the leaders displayed WISER’s commitment to the community by taking the initiative to go to the local clinic and interview the staff about how they could use headlamps built by the Engineering Club. Electricity is unpredictable, but there is a constant demand for medical care. As they are powered by motion (shaking, squeezing, or cranking), WISER lights are perfect for providing light when there is no electricity. We believe that a partnership between the WISER Engineering Club and the clinic will be the first of many ways that the WISER Engineering Club could change the larger community.
Within WISER, we are starting a “check-out” system to loan the flashlights constructed by the Engineering Club to other WISER students. Just as blackouts interrupt medical care, they also make it challenging for the girls to study and even take exams at night. The flashlights will hopefully help to eliminate these problems and make it easier for the girls to shine!
Overall, the Engineering Club has continued to run smoothly and certainly has a “bright” future at WISER.