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Girls Who Draft: A STEM Outreach Initiative

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 7

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

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Paper Authors


Ali Ahmad Northwestern State University

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Ali Ahmad is the Head of the Engineering Technology Department at Northwestern State University of Louisiana. He received a B.Sc. degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Jordan (Amman, Jordan; with Highest Distinction) and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Central Florida (Orlando, Fl, USA). He has diverse expertise in human-computer interaction, quality engineering, and simulating human-machine systems. He previously worked on projects related to transfer of training in advanced human-machine systems, usability evaluation of everyday products and services, and research in multimodal systems and virtual environments. His current research interests include virtual reality applications in manufacturing, multimodal interaction design, audio interfaces, advanced usability evaluation techniques, simulating complex human-machine systems, and advanced application of statistical techniques. Dr. Ahmad is a Certified Simulation Analyst and a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt.

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Jerie Pedescleaux Northwestern State University

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Industrial Engineering Technology Graduate of Northwestern State University.

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Engineering and Engineering Technology are essential to a functioning society leading to these professionals to be highly sought after in the workplace. Recent data shows that, despite many Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiatives over the past decade to increase the number of those entering into the Engineering and Engineering Technology fields, the percentage of women engineers (and computer scientists) remains fairly low. Several reasons contribute to the low number of women in these fields, such as support of supervisors/co-workers, perceptions of working environments/conditions, and lack of awareness of what engineering/technology careers entail.

It is important to set up and execute STEM outreach activities to encourage young women to become more involved in engineering/technology fields. By setting up STEM programs offered specifically to young women, young minds are given an opportunity to get hands on experience as to some of the duties of what a career in engineering could entail, helping clear away confusion regarding the field. Programs like these would also offer a kind of support system between fellow students and the teacher, helping encourage young women to stay involved in the field. This paper describes such a program implemented in a University in Louisiana. The program employs female students currently attending an engineering technology program at a university to teach young women from neighboring schools how to design and draft using computer applications such as Autodesk AutoCAD. The program, named “Girls Who Draft”, aims to stimulate awareness regarding career options in engineering/technology, motivate more young women to pursue careers in these areas, and to recruit more female students into the university program to eventually graduate with a degree in these high demand fields. The program is structured so that young women from nearby schools come for a 2-hour block to one of the departments’ computer labs that have the AutoCAD software available. The engineering technology faculty and students provide these young women with a hands-on introduction to drafting. Future expansions of “Girls Who Draft” plan include multi-day and multi-session formats where more detailed content can be explored.

Ahmad, A., & Pedescleaux, J. (2017, June), Girls Who Draft: A STEM Outreach Initiative Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28407

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