Students at Sweet Briar College are tackling a tough assignment.
They're designing two machines: one that can draw a picture, and another that can pull shells off sunflower seeds.
"This is an opportunity for young women to come to Sweet Briar and experience an authentic engineering and design project," said Hank Yochum, an engineering professor at Sweet Briar.
The experiment is part of a course called "Exploring Engineering Design."
High school girls are earning college credit, while learning how to be creative and solve problems.
"Engineering isn't just sitting at a computer all day," said Hannah Frazier, who traveled from Utah to participate in the program. "It's a lot of hands on work."
Participants live at Sweet Briar for a week, and learn from college professors and students.
Chandler Hawkins, a student from Radford, is using the class to explore a possible career path.
"It's been helpful by giving me the confidence to go for it," Hawkins said.
The program is in its fourth year and attracts students from across the country.
"I thought we were going to be doing more classes and learning about stuff, but the fact that we get to do this hands-on catches your interest more," said Akila Logan, a student from Atlanta.
Sweet Briar's program is unique. The school is one of only two women's colleges in the United States that offers engineering as a major.
"Sweet Briar is really committed to increasing the number of women pursuing engineering," said Yochum.
Organizers hope the girls in this class will go on to get engineering degrees, maybe at Sweet Briar.
"I'm really considering coming here for school," said Frazier. "I wasn't really sure what engineering really was, but after I came here I got a much clearer picture of all the things you can do with it."