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“Advance Eng Girls To Women: An Innovative Engineering Faculty Student Mentoring Summit For Underrepresented Minority (Urm) Girls And Their Mothers”

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Gender and Minority Issues in K-12 Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1389.1 - 15.1389.13



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Paper Authors

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Tuere Bowles North Carolina State University

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Christine Grant North Carolina State University


Pamela Martin North Carolina State University

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Dr. Pamela Martin (Co-PI) is an experienced assessment specialist focusing on psychology in the public
interest. Her research emphasizes ecological theory, the person-environment fit between social institutions
such as churches and behavioral outcomes, social support networks within African American faith
communities, faith-based HIV/AIDS prevention, and academic achievement. After earning her PhD in
Ecological/Community Psychology and Urban Studies at Michigan State University, she was a National
Science Foundation Minority Postdoctoral Fellow at the Programs for Research on Black Americans (PRBA)
in the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.

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Eric Carpenter North Carolina State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

“ADVANCE-ENG Girls to Women: An Innovative Engineering Faculty-Student Mentoring Summit for Underrepresented Minority (URM) Girls and their Mothers” Abstract

As a culturally relevant educational intervention, the ADVANCE-ENG Girls to Women Summit included over 70 underrepresented minority (URM) girls and their mothers (or other adult caregivers) to attend a day of engineering career exploration while interacting with over 60 URM women engineering professors from around the United States. The day was informative, empowering and encouraging, providing an opportunity for middle school girls to meet real women of color who are engineering professors, real women who at one time were girls making a critical move towards an engineering career. The prevailing Summit goal was to attract girls at a critical stage in the K-12 pipeline to engineering careers. The two-day event enabled the girls to take the time to envision themselves in the future, just like the faculty present, and for daughters and mothers/caregivers to connect or re-connect, forging an alliance to sustain the mothers/caregivers through the challenges they will face as their daughters become future women in engineering. A combination of faculty motivational speeches, a three-session rotation through hands-on activities (e.g., making lip gloss) and interactive career sessions culminated in a gala dinner for the girls, faculty/student/community volunteers, and special guests. The girls had continuous interaction with URM women engineering college students as role models throughout the event.


Women are disproportionately represented in engineering professions. Previous research has documented that that there is a leaky pipeline in all stages of women’s career trajectory in engineering. As early as at six-years of age gender stereotyping occurs in the treatment of children, which shapes their perceptions of STEM related opportunities.1, 2 It is in middle school, however, that girls begin to show lower levels of confidence and interest in engineering related fields than those of boys. 1, 3, 4 Additionally, it has been found that girls do not participate in as many science and engineering relevant activities as boys outside of school; hence, extracurricular activities have been suggested as a method of intervention to remedy this lack of experience.

A report by The Level Playing Field Institute (LPFI) entitled, Increasing the Representation of Women and People of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM): Scan and Synopsis of Approaches and Opportunities3 made three points relevant to the initiative described in this paper: (1) The underrepresentation of women and people of color in STEM fields means that few role models are available, and women and people of color are rarely portrayed as participating in STEM careers. Researchers have also identified a fundamental conflict between social definitions of women and of engineering; (2) Intervention supported by existing research: There is a need to support the people of color and women that are currently in positions to be role models; and (3) A lack of role models and mentors in academic environments has an adverse effect on women and people of color in STEM fields. While there are several venues that

Bowles, T., & Grant, C., & Martin, P., & Carpenter, E. (2010, June), “Advance Eng Girls To Women: An Innovative Engineering Faculty Student Mentoring Summit For Underrepresented Minority (Urm) Girls And Their Mothers” Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15966

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015