Lawrence Boys and Girls Club


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New Balance Sponsors Engineering Summer Camp for BGCL Members

August 24, 2017

Marielis Rodriguez of Lawrence and Yoangelis Diaz of Methuen, members of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, recently attended a week-long summer camp through generous scholarships from New Balance which reinforced their desire to pursue engineering as a career.

The girls, both rising juniors at Central Catholic High School, participated in the UMass Lowell Francis College of Engineering School's Engineering For Sustainability Camp. New Balance sponsored this year's camp which introduced female students entering grades 10-12 to the field of engineering.

"I am impressed by the passion of these young people, the future generation of engineers and STEM professionals," said Jim Connors, vice president of product development at New Balance and a member of the UML Francis College of Engineering Corporate Advisory Council. "We were gratified and proud to find a way to link our association with UMass Lowell to our long-standing commitment to the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence and the Lawrence community."

Throughout the week and during a visit to New Balance, the students learned about innovation, sustainability, product design, performance analysis and manufacturing through hands-on learning, tours and interactive experiences.

New Balance associates from various teams, many of them women, hosted sessions to speak about their varied career paths and job roles in manufacturing, engineering, product development, design, corporate responsibility and environmental sustainability. The visit also included tours of the manufacturing facility, manufacturing innovation office and Sports Research Lab.

Rodriguez said she additionally enjoyed field trips to a windmill factory and a UMass Lowell lab designed to reduce the chemicals used in cleaning supplies. In addition, college entrepreneurs discussed the process of starting their own companies, the science behind their prototypes and the importance of presentation skills when recruiting investors.

"At first, I was scared because I thought just extra-smart people went to the camp, but then when I met the other students, I realized we were all nervous - and then we all became friends," said Rodriguez, who has also participated in the Merrimack College-led Lawrence Math and Science Program and volunteered with Girl Lab!, the club's STEM program for middle school girls sponsored by Raytheon. "I've had a passion for science since I was small, so I thought I wanted to be an engineer, but this program made me certain this is what I want to do."

Diaz said the camp also reinforced her desire to make the world a better place by becoming an engineer. In fact, the girls were members of the winning team for their plastic recycling research project.

"I'm very grateful to New Balance, and I thank them for giving me this experience," said Diaz, noting how staying on campus enabled her to envision herself as a college student. Academically, the camp helped narrow her career focus to either an industrial or civil engineer.

"The camp showed me what I really want to do with my life. Most kids don't have that opportunity," she added. "Overall, it's great to see how much faith New Balance has in the youth members of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, and how much they care about and want to help the community."

"I encourage Marielis and Yoangelis to follow through on their goals to make engineering their field of choice," Connors said. "The options available for these bright young women are limitless."


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