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Awe: An Outreach Workshop For Middle School Girls

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.121.1 - 5.121.9



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Paper Authors

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Linda M. Head

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Zenaida O. Keil

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Beena Sukumaran

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Kauser Jahan

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

Session 1692

AWE: An Outreach Workshop for Middle School Girls Kauser Jahan, P.E., Beena Sukumaran, Linda M. Head and Zenaida O. Keil Rowan University College of Engineering 201 Mullica Hill Road Glassboro, New Jersey 08028-1701

Abstract A two-week, EiF Foundation and Rowan University sponsored workshop designed to introduce middle school girls to engineering careers was held at Rowan University during the summer of 1999. This target audience was selected to expose young girls to the importance of focusing on mathematics and science in their middle school years. Participants from minority populations were strongly encouraged to apply. Innovative hands-on experiments in the various fields of engineering with state of the art technology were used to spark the participants’ interest in engineering. Experiments required collaborative learning through teamwork. The program consisted of a two-week on-campus session at Rowan University wherein students interacted with departmental faculty, undergraduate engineering students and representatives from local industry. The workshop also experiments, field trips, workshops on engineering ethics, professionalism, gender sensitivity and computer training sessions. The impact of the workshop was very encouraging and positive. Such workshops can encourage young girls to consider engineering as a course of study and/or a career in their high school years.

Introduction Women constitute approximately half of the population and about 46 percent of the labor force in all occupations, but only 9 percent of engineers [1,8,9]. According to the US Department of Labor predictions, between now and the year 2000, nearly two-thirds of the new entrants into the work force will be women. The current low level participation of women in science, mathematics and engineering will be a major deterrent in precluding them from the future job market. Girls still do not enter the field of engineering or other professions requiring strong backgrounds in science and mathematics in large numbers. There is still considerable “math anxiety” and many girls choose not to continue with mathematics and science beyond the required courses in high school. As a result, they often close themselves out of professions they might wish to enter later. Specifically, engineering and sciences continue to show an underrepresentation of women. Lebuffe [2] in her annual survey of engineering enrollments and degrees for the Engineering Workforce Commission of the American Association of Engineering Societies, found that roughly 16 percent of all bachelor degrees in engineering were awarded to women in 1993. In 1993, women received only 9 percent of the doctoral degrees in engineering. The future does not seem to be brighter either. In January 1994, only 2.9 percent of all women entering college planned to major in engineering and only 1 percent planned to enter technical fields (compared

Head, L. M., & Keil, Z. O., & Sukumaran, B., & Jahan, K. (2000, June), Awe: An Outreach Workshop For Middle School Girls Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8179

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