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Outreach Initiative For Recruiting Women To Engineering: Doing A Good Deed For Girl Scouts

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Poster Session

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1136.1 - 12.1136.6



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Paper Authors


David Cottrell University of North Carolina-Charlotte

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DR. DAVID S. COTTRELL is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Technology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1978 and retired in 2000 after more than 22 years of service with the US Army Corps of Engineers. Studies at Texas A&M University resulted in an MS Degree in Civil Engineering in 1987 and a PhD in 1995. He is a registered Professional Engineer and has taught courses in statics, dynamics, mechanics of materials, graphic communications, engineering economy, and construction planning, scheduling, estimating, and management.

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

Outreach Initiative for Recruiting Women to Engineering: Doing a Good Deed for Girl Scouting


The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. This truth is frequently brought to light by many who would raise an alarm about a perceived trend or character trait contrary to their vision of a secure and robust future; others would sow confidence in a generation from which great things were expected. Current studies indicate that the United States is facing an imminent shortage of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians; further, female high-school students show little interest in pursuing careers related to engineering.1 This lack of interest may be a significant factor in understanding the “Extraordinary Woman Engineers Project” which reported that currently fewer than 10% of the nation's engineers are women in spite of the fact that girls do not lag behind boys in grades or test scores in either math or science.2

The program presented by this paper represents perhaps part of the solution to this paradox by investing in the female youth of today through proven hands-on learning techniques.3 This paper reports on a local initiative by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to invest in the female youth of today through some proven hands-on learning techniques. It envisions an outreach initiative to teach, train, and aid in the learning of female youth of greater Charlotte in the many exciting facets of construction and engineering. However, the program reaches outside the traditional K-12 education system and targets 10-18 year old girls within the Girls Scouts of the Hornets Nest Council in Charlotte, North Carolina. Currently, there are a number of similar, successful institutions in other areas of the country that have developed extensive outreach programs that at least in part encompass Girl Scouts organizations as a significant target of opportunity for enlightening young girls to the exciting possibilities of a career in engineering. At the University of Colorado at Boulder, the College of Engineering and Applied Science offers a variety of hands-on engineering workshops to elementary, middle and high school students as well as teaching support for K-12 teachers to assist them in bringing science and engineering concepts into their classrooms. Their Girl Scout Outreach Program enlightens young women of opportunities in the fields of science and engineering through interactive Girl Scout badges in a fun learning atmosphere.3 Working in conjunction with the Society of Women Engineers, the University of Massachusetts Amherst has an outreach program to the Western Massachusetts Girl Scout Council that includes hands-on activities with an engineering focus, guest speakers from industry, and research experience for students.4 Ohio State University’s outreach program – “Girl Scout Days” – employs workshops sponsored by the Society of Women in Engineering for Girl Scouts to experience engineering first-hand. Through tours, group work, and engineering activities, the participants learn about the fields of math and science and have a glimpse of what it means to be an engineer.5 The Hornets Nest Council in Charlotte in cooperation with the Society of Women Engineers and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte has also implemented a number of initiatives to expose their Girl Scouts to a wide variety of engineering topics and disciplines. Their “Professor Buzz” and “Engineers are Cool” programs allow girls to encounter automotive maintenance, electronics, medicine, botany, geology, space, and others.6

“Proceedings of the 2007 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2007, American Society for Engineering Education”

Cottrell, D. (2007, June), Outreach Initiative For Recruiting Women To Engineering: Doing A Good Deed For Girl Scouts Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2807

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015