For two full days, female undergraduate and graduate students from all over USC came together to collaborate on projects ranging from smart desks to sustainable living spaces as part of the University’s first all-woman makeathon, “Break to Make,” thrown by Spark SC from September 23-24.
“Women in diverse fields, such as engineering and design, came to the event to learn new skills in electronics, prototyping, robotics and pitching; to hear from speakers in related industries; and to build a project that is then presented in front of a panel of judges,” said Priscilla Pan, a member of Spark SC and an organizer for the event.
The weekend began with workshops in 3-D printing, programming a microcontroller and how to pitch. Computer science senior lecturer Sheila Tejada, who is heavily involved in the maker community, also spoke at the event.
The 50 participants, who made up 10 teams, were granted full access to electronics and materials, as well as the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering lab in Biegler Hall, to design a solution to a challenge in one of four categories: food, water and shelter; communications; education; and open design.
Projects were evaluated by a panel of judges based on the quality of their product and their pitch. Judges included Kate McAndrew, a senior associate at Bolt, Tracy Van Houten, test program lead for the Mars 2020 Rover at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Valerie Frank, product manager at Inventables.
And the winners are:
Project: Fidget desk – a desk that generates energy and keep students focused
Tamara Khasanova, Graphic Design ’19
Rebecca (Becky) Byng, Design ’19
Samantha Ko, Mechanical Engineering ’19
Courtney Mercado, Chemical Engineering ’18
Project: Intable – a smart Internet of Things (IoT) desk that increases class participation
Ling Ye, Electrical Engineering ’19
Ziru Ling, Philosophy, Politics and Law ’19
Stephanie Ng, Arts, Technology, and the Business of Innovation ’21
Project: Bluekey – a smart lock that opens dorm rooms with the tap of a phone
Margaret Field, Mechanical Engineering ’19
Amy Gaal, Mechanical Engineering ’21
Shirley Huang, Arts, Technology, and the Business of Innovation ’21
Ashley Lyu, Biological Sciences ’21