July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Community Engagement Division
STEM Program for Female Students
Despite engineering careers helping to solve problems in society and the environment, and enabling financial independence, a disproportionately low number of women enter engineering careers. One factor for the low participation may be insufficient exposure to compelling engineering activities at an early age. As a response, many educators and activists have initiated STEM activities for younger women to engage in, and potentially increase their interest and likelihood to pursue engineering pathways. Our university has collaborated with local organizations and schools and initiated activities to provide exposure to role models and STEM activities to young women.
One example is a STEM day for Girl Scouts that has been organized at our university for six years. The one day program is to help 4th or 5th grade students explore STEM activities and learn about some of the engineering fields. The event organization is led by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). The core part of the day has small groups of Girl Scouts rotate through five different STEM workshops. The event was first started in 2014 with 30 students, and has grown to 75 students in 2019. Since 2016 our university has developed a mini program "RAMP for High School Girls" to expose local junior and senior high school girls to STEM fields. The six-week summer program is organized as modules. Each week the female students explore a different STEM discipline. In the past 4 years, about 30 female students participated in the mini program each year. Last year our university started a new STEM program for freshman and sophomore students from a girls’ high school. The event is organized by the student chapter of SWE. The one day program includes three STEM disciplines and the students rotated between the different workshops. 14 female high school students participated in this new STEM program last year.
A survey was conducted to collect data after each program to evaluate the content of the program. 95% students enjoyed Girl Scouts STEM day and 56% of the students knew some/a lot about STEM fields after RAMP program. Students also reflected that they would like to participate more STEM related activities in the future. Many high school students found the workshops to be extremely helpful in helping them to further identify their college interests and majors.
Song, J., & Ma, G. G., & Dow, D. E. (2021, July), STEM Program for Female Students Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37727
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