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Mentoring Young Girls Into Engineering And Technology

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session


Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.888.1 - 13.888.11



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Paper Authors


Canan Bilen-Green North Dakota State University

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Canan Bilen-Green is an associate professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at North Dakota State University. She is a certified quality engineer, and earned PhD and MS degrees in Statistics from the University of Wyoming and a MS degree in Industrial Engineering from Bilkent University, Turkey.

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Anakaorn Khan North Dakota State University

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Anakaorn Khan is an Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering graduate student at North Dakota State University. She holds a BS degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Irvine (1998), and a MS degree in Financial Engineering from Polytechnic University, Brooklyn, New York (2001).

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David Wells North Dakota State University

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

Mentoring Young Girls into Engineering and Technology


We continue to see a decrease in percentage of women entering the engineering field, a trend that will continue for the near term according to ASEE. Studies show that a large number of girls outperform boys in science and mathematics in elementary schools. However, by the time these girls are beginning to consider their college and life career, they are less and less interested in math and science.

Low female student enrollment in the College of Engineering and Architecture, North Dakota State University is of particular concern as our numbers lag behind national numbers significantly. In order to increase our female student enrolment numbers we have been working offering an engineering and technology after school program aimed at fourth-through seventh- graders. This is an interactive, 10-week program that brings girls to campus to work with female engineering students. Girls are exposed to engineering and technology through demonstrations, hands-on activities, and interactions with female engineering students. In this paper we discuss the important elements of the outreach program and share both quantitative and qualitative data compiled from participants and their parents/guardians and mentors.


In spite of the progress made in the past two decades, women remain a minority in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professions. Women still enroll and remain in engineering fields in disproportionately smaller numbers than men. Female students tend to avoid mathematics, science or engineering majors in order to maintain their femininity. The reasons cited for not choosing science and engineering majors include social rejection, peer acceptance and loss of appeal to the opposite sex.1

Even though women constitute fifty percent of our intellectual resource, engineering is deprived of the valuable talent and diverse thinking, women bring into the profession. This is emphasized by the fact that women form fifty percent of the consumers of products in our society and make over fifty percent of the purchasing decisions.2 While there has been an increase in the number of students enrolled in undergraduate engineering programs the percentage of women earning bachelor degrees has only been around 20%. According to ASEE from 1999 to 2006, the percent of total engineering bachelor degrees earned by women varied between 19.3% and 21.2%.

Under representation of women in the College of Engineering and Architecture, North Dakota State University (NDSU) is of particular concern as our numbers lag well behind the national statistics (Table 1). Overall, from 1999 to 2006 the percentage of engineering bachelor degrees awarded to women varied between 8.2% and 13.3%. However, percentage of degrees awarded to women varies greatly from major to major as well as from year to year. For instance, in 2001 percentage of mechanical engineering and industrial and manufacturing engineering degrees awarded to women were 4.3 and 19.1, respectively.

Bilen-Green, C., & Khan, A., & Wells, D. (2008, June), Mentoring Young Girls Into Engineering And Technology Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3499

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