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Reaching Out To High School Girls: The Role Of A Student Organization In Developing An On Campus Technology Workshop

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.964.1 - 8.964.7



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Paper Authors

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Susan Miller

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Mara Wasburn

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

Reaching Out to High School Girls: The Role of a Student Organization in Developing an On-campus Technology Workshop

Mara H. Wasburn, Susan G. Miller Purdue University


Women and girls will comprise at least half of the available science, engineering, and technology talent pool. Therefore, it becomes imperative to attract more women and girls into these disciplines. In 2002 at Purdue University, the student group Women in Technology invited a select number of high school juniors who were at risk of losing interest in math, science, and computers, and their parents to the Purdue campus for an all-day workshop. The program was planned, designed, and executed by Women in Technology students. Its purpose was to give the high school girls who participated an understanding of the various majors available in the School of Technology through tours, presentations by women faculty from each discipline, a question and answer session with students, and hands-on laboratory experiences. In this paper, we will present an overview of the organization; discuss the lessons learned from the first Women in Technology Workshop, and suggest strategies for developing such workshops into vital components of efforts to recruit more high school girls into the fields of technology, engineering, and science.


There have been many programs that have succeeded in attracting more women into the fields of science, engineering, and technology over the past two decades. However, although women constitute 51 percent of the population of the United States and 46 percent of the labor force, less than a quarter of the scientists and engineers in this country are women1. A July 2001 report released by The National Council for Research on Women finds that much of the progress that women have made in these areas has stalled or eroded2. The report underscores the increasing need for a scientifically and technologically literate workforce as we enter the new millennium. Women and girls will comprise half of the available science, engineering and technology talent pool. Therefore, it becomes imperative not only to attract but also to retain women and girls in technology-related areas.

Beginning in elementary school, male/female attitudes toward science and technology begin to differ. This continues on into high school during the critical period when girls begin to develop an understanding of their appropriate social roles. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Girls have some reservations about the seemingly male “computer culture” as they watch boys utilizing computers for violent computer games and what they see as technology for its own sake 5. There is little software that appeals to them. Therefore, the tendency of boys to monopolize the computers is not being vigorously challenged 8. As a result, girls do not take advantage of after school computer clubs or enroll in higher-level computer classes 9.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Miller, S., & Wasburn, M. (2003, June), Reaching Out To High School Girls: The Role Of A Student Organization In Developing An On Campus Technology Workshop Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12349

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