Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Women in Engineering
Girl Scouts STEM Day Program
Careers in engineering help a person to both contribute toward solving problems in society and environment, and live independently with available work. Nevertheless, a disproportionate number of females have not entered careers in engineering. One factor for the low participation may be insufficient exposure to compelling engineering activities at an early age. As a response, many educators and activists have initiated STEM activities for younger women to engage in, and potentially increase their interest and likelihood to pursue engineering pathways. One example is a STEM day for Girl Scouts that has been organized at our institute for several years. Girl Scouts STEM day is a program to help 4th or 5th grade students explore STEM activities and learn about some of the engineering fields. The event organization is led by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). The core part of the day has small groups of Girl Scouts rotate between workshops. These workshops were conducted by faculty from different departments. In each workshop, one faculty and several college student volunteers, led by the SWE student chapter, introduced and guided the activity. Members of Girl Scouts participate in STEM-related hands-on workshops. The event was first started at our university in 2014 with 30 students, and has grown to 75 students in 2019. In the past six years, over 340 girl scouts participated in the skills-based workshops and hands-on projects.
The one day program started with a team building, active experience followed by inspiring speeches by women leaders in their careers. Then the students break into small groups and rotate through five different STEM workshops: Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Computer Science, and Science. There was about forty five minutes for each workshop. Descriptions and observations of the Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Manufacturing Engineering workshops are presented in this paper. The Biomedical Engineering project involved sensors for muscle force and electromyography with resulting graphs. The Electrical Engineering project involved an LED Dexterity Challenge. The Manufacturing Engineering project had the students manufacture a miniature Bowling Pin. A survey was conducted to collect data right after the students completed each workshop to evaluate the content of the workshop. 244 girl scouts members participated in the STEM program and took the survey in the past three years. The survey showed 96% students enjoyed Biomedical Engineering project, 95% students enjoyed Electrical Engineering workshop activity while 94% of the students enjoyed Manufacturing Engineering. Students reflected that they would like to participate more STEM related activities in the future.
The program was motivated to expose young girls to STEM fields, boost interests and give them more hands-on experience. It could also contribute toward the likelihood of these girl scouts to pursue STEM pathways and possibly enter engineering fields.
Song, J., & Dow, D. E., & Ma, G. G., & McCusker, J. R. (2020, June), Girl Scouts STEM Day Program Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34708
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