Penn State University - Berks Campus - Reading, Pennsylvania
October 6, 2017
October 6, 2017
October 7, 2017
Diversity and Mid-Atlantic Section Fall Conference
Leveraging current research indicating that the presence of mentors and role-models are instrumental to the recruitment and retention of females in engineering, the primary purpose of this study was to examine the effect of role-models and mentors on the attitudes and self-confidence of middle school girls towards engineering. Participants were cohorts of middle school aged females, paired with Penn State University female undergraduate engineering students. The study was conducted by exposing participants to a consistent series of activities that fostered creative thinking, problem-solving, and real-world engineering, all while encouraging and facilitating interaction among the cohorts. Comprehensive assessments were embedded into every aspect of the program in order to evaluate program effectiveness and outcomes. Regular, structured interactions between the participants resulted in statistically significant increases in both interest and confidence in engineering as well as the positive influence of mentors and role-models.
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