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Girls Experiencing Engineering: Evolution and Impact of a Single-Gender Outreach Program

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Engaging Families and Exciting Girls with Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.745.1 - 22.745.13



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Paper Authors


Stephanie S. Ivey University of Memphis

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Dr. Stephanie Ivey, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, is currently involved in several engineering and STEM education projects. She is part of the project team for the NSF funded MemphiSTEP: A STEM Talent Expansion Program (NSF DUE 0756738), where her responsibilities include coordination of the entire project’s mentoring activities, including the peer-mentoring, peer-tutoring, and STEM club mini-grant program. She is leading a project focused on service learning within the Civil Engineering curriculum and a project examining links between learning styles and freshman attrition from engineering programs. Dr. Ivey et al. received the 2005 Best Research Paper award from the ASEE Midwest Section, and the 2006 award from ASEE Zone III for the preliminary publication from the learning style project. She teaches courses in transportation engineering and engineering statistics and conducts research in the area of sustainable community development and freight modeling. She is a lead faculty instructor for the Herff College of Engineering’s targeted outreach program, Girls Experiencing Engineering, since its inception in 2004, and has also served as program faculty in other co-educational outreach programs. She has experience as a high-school math/science teacher, is the faculty advisor for the UM Institute of Transportation Engineers student chapter, and holds a local office with ASCE.

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Paul J. Palazolo University of Memphis

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Dr. Paul J. Palazolo
is Associate Professor of Civil Engineering and the Associate Dean of the College of Engineering at the University
of Memphis. He has been part of the development team for the Foundation Sequence in the department for the past
10 years with emphasis on visualization and computation skills. He has been the Co-PI for several funded
engineering education projects focusing on retention and broadening the appeal of engineering to underrepresented
populations in the greater Memphis area. He is an active member of the American Society of Engineering Educators
serving in several executive positions at the regional level.

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Girls Experiencing Engineering: Evolution and Impact of a Single-Gender Outreach ProgramAbstractThe Girls Experiencing Engineering (GEE) program is a fast-paced, interactive program thatseeks to instill young women with confidence, interest, and awareness of the wide array of careeropportunities within science, technology, and engineering fields. The GEE program began in2004 as a one-week session targeting 24 middle school girls and four math and science teachers.The program has expanded tremendously, with the 2010 program structured in a series of oneweek, 20-hour intensive sessions, accommodating 143 middle and high school studentparticipants, 20 peer mentors, and 21 middle and high school math and science teachers. Overthe course of the past 7 years, GEE has involved 641 middle school and high school students,along with 100 teachers and 128 high school and college mentors. Importantly, 85% of thesegirls represent minority groups traditionally underrepresented in math, science, technology, andengineering fields.The primary goal of the GEE Program is to increase the number of girls pursuing careers inSTEM fields by offering female middle school and high school students an opportunity toincrease their awareness and interest levels regarding existing and potential opportunities in thefields of mathematics, science, and engineering. Secondarily, the program seeks to create abroader impact by providing high school and middle school science and math teachers with newpedagogical methods and tools for use in their classrooms and by providing high school girlswith leadership training and practice opportunities through peer mentoring. Finally, the programincludes a goal of broadening knowledge of participants' parents about career opportunities inengineering.This paper outlines the program evolution and the lessons learned over the past seven years anddetails specifically the way in which the program has evolved to address the unique skills andneeds of the young women. Findings from the formal assessment of the program will bedescribed, in particular with respect to unexpected outcomes. Finally, future programmodifications and recommendations of the program developers applicable to other outreachactivities will be addressed, with specific examples from the GEE program used as illustration.

Ivey, S. S., & Palazolo, P. J. (2011, June), Girls Experiencing Engineering: Evolution and Impact of a Single-Gender Outreach Program Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18026

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