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High Heels High Tech: A Professional Development Opportunity For Educators

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

K-12 Programs for Women

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.688.1 - 10.688.7



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Paper Authors

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Betsy Willis

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

High Heels – High Tech: A Professional Development Opportunity for Educators

Betsy F. Willis, Ph.D. School of Engineering, Southern Methodist University


High Heels – High Tech is a 2-day professional development workshop for middle and high school educators, each of whom impact the lives of hundreds of girls annually. The workshop focuses on three themes: (1) the need for more women engineers, (2) preparation for college engineering, and (3) opportunities in engineering for women. Throughout the workshop, participants are immersed in the engineering experience as they learn from female engineers at corporate and university sites. Twenty educators attended the pilot workshop, and each educator serves a large, diverse student population. Workshop participants reported an increased knowledge of the field of engineering, an increased awareness of the opportunities in engineering, and how to prepare students for engineering. The impact of the workshop is expected to be three-fold: (1) increased interest among educators to participate in the workshop and (2) increased academic performance among students, and (3) increased interest in STEM careers among girls.


Women control 80% of family purchase decisions, yet only 10% of working engineers are women. 1,2 This disconnect between the creators and purchasers presents a great need for more female engineers to create products that will ultimately be purchased by women. Only 20% of B.S. degrees in engineering are awarded to women, 17% of M.S. degrees, and 12% of Ph.D. degrees. 2 The lack of women entering the field of engineering can be traced back to the lack of female high school graduates prepared for and informed about engineering.

Few female high school students take the necessary classes in high school to enter college engineering, as shown in Table 1. 3,4

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Willis, B. (2005, June), High Heels High Tech: A Professional Development Opportunity For Educators Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15510

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