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Attracting Female Students To Engineering And Science Programs Through A Partnership With Girl Scouts Of America

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.253.1 - 8.253.4



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Paper Authors

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Gene McGinnis

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Denise Theobald-Roberts

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

Session 2793

Attracting Female Students to Engineering and Science Programs through a Partnership with Girl Scouts of America

R. Eugene McGinnis, Denise Theobald Roberts Christian Brothers University Memphis, Tennessee

Introduction Christian Brothers University School of Engineering and the local Girl Scouts of America are in agreement on the need for developing a partnership to increase exposure of girl scouts to opportunities in engineering and science. Such exposure was provided through a workshop recently held for local girl scouts. Girl scouts were targeted for the workshop because of the commitment of the Girl Scouts of America to providing quality experiences for the scouts. The scouts gathered at the Nolan Engineering Center on the CBU campus and spent the afternoon competing in impromptu design competitions and attending computer demonstrations. Fourteen eighth and ninth grade girl scouts, two scout leaders and one mother attended the engineering workshop held at CBU. A short introduction to the workshop was given and then an overview of the coursework required to obtain an engineering degree was discussed. Two impromptu design competitions were held and the scouts were introduced to parametric modeling software, data collection and analysis, and a chemical reaction experiment. At the close of the workshop the girls were asked to fill out a questionnaire about the workshop. The questionnaire was used to evaluate the workshop and to compare the girls’ interest in engineering and science to their interest in math and science coursework.

Workshop The scouts were introduced to civil and environmental engineering by a faculty member of that department. An impromptu design competition to build a water tower was held. The girls were divided into two groups of three and two groups of four. Each group was given materials to be used in constructing the tower. The materials included a Styrofoam cup, plastic straws, index cards, paper clips, rubber bands, scissors, needle nose pliers and approximately a yard of masking tape. The girls were given twenty minutes to design the water tower. The requirements of the impromptu design contest were that the water tower would be loaded with water and transported by two members of each team a distance equal to about 10 feet. The team carrying the most water over the distance in the shortest time was declared the winner. Only one team successfully transported a significant amount of water, but all the scouts learned the importance of design and teamwork.

A mechanical engineering faculty member talked to the scouts about possible constraints in engineering design. The girls saw first hand the constraint of time and available materials when each group of girls was given a set of materials and told to design a turbomachine. The materials included a paper plate, a wooden dowel, paper clips, string, cellophane tape, scissors, and a thumbtack. The girls were told that a weight would be hung from a string attached to the

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

McGinnis, G., & Theobald-Roberts, D. (2003, June), Attracting Female Students To Engineering And Science Programs Through A Partnership With Girl Scouts Of America Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12104

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