June 22, 2003
June 22, 2003
June 25, 2003
8.128.1 - 8.128.14
A Summer Engineering Workshop to Recruit Talented High School Women
James N. Hedrick, Karen N. Williams, and Linda G. Almstead Union College, Schenectady, New York
The Union College Division of Engineering is interested in increasing the number of women students in its engineering program. For the past seven years Union has offered its successful Summer Science Workshop (SSW) for underrepresented minority students interested in science and health professions. This past summer we adapted the model developed for the SSW to a workshop for high school women interested in engineering. Named “Educating Girls as Engineers” (EDGE), this program was a selective 12-day residential workshop for 20 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. Participants were chosen by faculty on the basis of essays, transcripts, and letters of recommendation from high school teachers and guidance counselors. The program included three mini-courses: a module in design and bioengineering, a module in robotics for the disabled, and a module in communications. We believe that the success of our program can be attributed to several key elements:
§ A dedicated team of college faculty, student-counselors, and high school science teachers. § A unifying theme based on the application of engineering to designing tools and toys for disabled children. § Evaluation of the program both during and after the program. § An appropriate balance of academics, educational field trips, and recreational activities. § Personal contact with the participants before, during, and after the program.
The workshop experience, combined with an admissions interview conducted during the summer and a reunion of students in the fall when classes are in session, have resulted in students applying to Union (some for early decision). The model which we present can be easily adapted to other institutions, disciplines, and/or target populations.
The importance of establishing a workforce which is as diverse as the general population is well recognized. Even though the number of women studying engineering has slowly increased over the past 40 years (women earned fewer than one percent of the bachelor’s degrees in 1966 but received 21 percent in 20001) they are still highly underrepresented in the workforce today - making up less than 10 percent 2.
As part of a self study of the Engineering Division at Union in 2000, a committee researched issues related to women in engineering. The committee concluded that while Union’s environment has key elements that attract women to engineering programs such as small class
Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education
Almstead, L., & Williams, K., & Hedrick, J. (2003, June), A Summer Engineering Workshop To Recruit Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11471
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