Young women see engineering career as interesting, enjoyable

Engineer Your Life highlights engineering opportunities and shows women how engineering is desirable and within reach. Recent UW-Madison research shows no gender differences in recent math performance.


Boston and Washington, DC – Research shows low enrollment rates of college-bound women choosing engineering as a major, which leads to fewer women entering the profession. A national campaign aims to close the gap. Engineer Your Life highlights opportunities available in the world of engineering, showing how they’re desirable and within reach. This is particularly enlightening given the widely reported findings from UW-Madison where a recent study shows no gender differences in math performance between girls and boys .
Innovation on the Engineer Your Life Website includes:
-Attend a Summer or After-School Program : There are short-term programs that will allow you to actively experience engineering firsthand, make new friends, and have a fantastic time. A good place to start looking for opportunities is the Engineering Education Service Center’s database of pre-engineering summer camps where you can do a quick search by state.
-Watch TV! Design Squad is a PBS television show in which eight high school contestants tackle engineering challenges for an actual client. In the final episode, the top two scorers battle for the Grand Prize—a $10,000 college scholarship. The Design Squad Web site offers plenty of information for high-school age kids about engineering.
-Take a Tour :
The initiative is spearheaded by members of the engineering community and WGBH Boston , who teamed up in 2004 to find out why greater numbers of girls weren't going into engineering. The program provides three messages– creativity has its rewards, make a world of difference, and explore the possibilities – which aim to change perceptions that high-school girls have about engineering and to encourage enrollment in undergraduate engineering programs.
Engineer Your Life’s interactive multimedia Website showcases 12 profiles of young female engineers whose choices embody the campaign messages. Their stories present engineering as a realistic option for young women interested in careers that make a difference and are flexible, fun, and creative, and as a desirable goal that is within reach. Profiles give visitors to the site a glimpse of women who make up the next generation of engineers and present a day-in-the-life look at dynamic professional lives.
Engineer Your Life is the culmination of three years of research conducted by a coalition of engineering organizations. It was developed to address the perception that engineers must have exceptional math and science skills, and that they sit in cubicles all day doing math. The coalition repositions engineering as an interesting, enjoyable, social, lucrative, and flexible career choice for women– not an insurmountable set of hurdles. The Website offers training around the country for school counselors and engineers, and hosts Engineer Your Life information tables at college fairs.
It includes descriptions of 11 engineering disciplines, with information on typical projects and starting salaries, thus becoming a resource for those seeking to learn more about the field. It contains academic information, including background on required courses and paths of study for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students. Guidance counselors, teachers, and parents will find resources to help advise students about engineering careers.
The coalition will continue positive messaging over the next two years by hosting nationwide training sessions for engineers and educators. Engineers will learn how to better communicate information about their profession to students and the adults who influence them. Counselors will learn more about the field and obtain resources to advise students and parents. Marketing plans include print and online campaigns to drive traffic to the Website, with multiple postcard mailings to every sophomore girl with a PSAT score above 55.
The project is a production of WGBH Boston and the National Academy of Engineering, in partnership with a coalition of engineering and educational organizations including the American Association of Engineering Societies, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, DuPont, IBM, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, National Association for College Admission Counseling, National Society of Professional Engineers, Junior Engineering Technical Society, Northrop Grumman Corp., Society of Women Engineers, and Women in Engineering ProActive Network, International Technology Education Association, and National Engineers Week Foundation. Major funding is provided by The National Science Foundation and Northrop Grumman Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the United Engineering Foundation (ASCE, ASME, AICHE, IEEE, AIME).
Also read:

Promoting engineering to girls


Closing the Skills Gap with discussion about what sparked engineers' interest in engineering

–  Control Engineering News Desk
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