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An Interactive Event Model To Introduce Girls To Engineering: Evolution Of A Scalable Program And Lessons Learned

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.188.1 - 10.188.7



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Paper Authors

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Jennifer Karlin

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An Interactive Event Model to Introduce Young Women to Engineering: Evolution of a Scalable Program and Lessons Learned Jennifer Karlin South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Abstract This paper presents a model used successfully at two institutions as an outreach mechanism to middle school and high school aged young women. As the driving force behind the particular outreach event at each of the institutions, the author provides lessons learned to implement, strengthen, and sustain similar activities on her own and other campuses. The spotlight event is a day-long, hands-on program exposing the participants to many options in engineering. A hallmark of the program is its interactive nature, allowing the participants to see how math and science can be used to make the world a better place.

Introduction Females are traditionally underrepresented in the science and engineering fields, and their loss to the workforce can negatively affect the quality of the future domestic science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce1. All students progress through an educational pipeline, and the female STEM pipeline experiences a number of leaks during which students lose interest in science and engineering. These leaks can occur anywhere from elementary school through the graduate level and can be due to a number of different factors2. Resources applied to reducing the pipeline leaks can have a dramatic impact on the diversity and the effectiveness of the future STEM workforce3. In addition to low income and ethnic minority students, pre-college students hailing from rural areas often have less access to the types of programming and mentoring which open their eyes to STEM career options4.

This paper describes both an easily scalable program model to bring middle and high school young women onto campus and the evolution of that program. By comparing the initial iteration of the program with its current state, lessons are distilled in the hopes that other programs will be able to reduce their learning curve.

The Initial Program Throughout the evolution of the program, the goal was to build a hands-on experience in a supportive, female-only environment, factors seen as the keys to success in other programs5. While all of the participants have been female, the presenters have been a mix of men and women. This gender mix occurred partly of the philosophical reason of showing the young women that there are men who care about diversifying the field, but also because of the practical constraint of the limited number of female faculty and “Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Karlin, J. (2005, June), An Interactive Event Model To Introduce Girls To Engineering: Evolution Of A Scalable Program And Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14597

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