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FiERCE: Empowering Girls in Engineering Through Role-Models and Mentoring

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2017 Mid-Atlantic Section Fall Conference


Penn State University - Berks Campus - Reading, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

October 6, 2017

Start Date

October 6, 2017

End Date

October 7, 2017

Conference Session

Mid Atlantic Papers

Tagged Topics

Diversity and Mid-Atlantic Section Fall Conference

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Paper Authors

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Laura Bayerle


Marietta R. Scanlon Pennsylvania State University, Berks Campus

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Dr. Marietta Scanlon holds a BS in Chemical Engineering and an SM and PhD in Materials Science and Engineering. She is a Lecturer of Engineering in the Division of Engineering, Business and Computing at Penn State University, Berks Campus and serves as co-director of the FiERCE program. Her interests include 3D printing technologies as well as STEM education and outreach and innovative teaching delivery methods.

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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.

Bayerle, L., & Scanlon, M. R. (2017, October), FiERCE: Empowering Girls in Engineering Through Role-Models and Mentoring Paper presented at 2017 Mid-Atlantic Section Fall Conference, Penn State University - Berks Campus - Reading, Pennsylvania.

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