June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Women in Engineering
12.1384.1 - 12.1384.12
Ten Years of STEPS Success: Significant Impact in Attracting Girls to Science, Technology, and Engineering Careers
The Science, Technology and Engineering Preview Summer Camp for Girls (STEPS for Girls) is a one-week summer camp initiated on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Stout in the summer of 1997. The purpose of STEPS is to introduce young women to career opportunities in engineering, technology, and science and inspire them to prepare for these careers by selection of appropriate math and science courses in middle and high school. With the completion of the 10th year camp in 2006, 1600 young women have manufactured the components for and assembled their own radio-controlled model airplanes. A recent survey of early STEPS campers has revealed this summer camp has made significant impacts on their career pursuits. A young woman attending STEPS is 9.6 times more likely to pursue an engineering or technology degree and is 4.8 times more likely to pursue a natural science degree than her contemporaries. Inspired by the success of STEPS for Girls, the University created an Advanced STEPS camp for tenth grade girls during the summer of 2006. This paper will present the complete findings of the follow-up surveys administered to the first three years of STEPS campers and briefly outline the new Advanced STEPS camp. In addition to the significant impact in career pursuit, STEPS campers also indicate a greatly enhanced appreciation for impacts of technology within their non-engineering, technological or natural science pursuits.
Introduction to Science, Technology and Engineering Preview Summer (STEPS) Camp
In 1997, the University of Wisconsin-Stout, in partnership with the Society of Manufacturing Engineering Education Foundation (SME-EF), initiated an outreach program for girls entering the seventh grade. “STEPS for Girls” is a one-week introduction to the world of manufacturing. For ten years, the girls have manufactured radio-controlled model airplanes from raw materials. The components are fabricated in various laboratory activities using real production equipment. Each girl has an opportunity to fly her airplane with the assistance of skilled radio-controlled aircraft pilots. “STEPS for Girls” campers gain direct hands-on experience in math, physics, chemistry, packaging, computer aided design, rapid prototyping, computer aided manufacturing, CNC machining, metals casting, plastics processing, robotics, web-page development, and printing.1
Industry, University, and SME-EF support are keys to the success of this program. Initially free to all campers, the camp now charges a nominal $325 fee for the week of activities. The seventh grade outreach program, which completed its tenth camping summer in 2006, now has 1600 female graduates. Twenty-five percent (25%) of campers receive donor supported scholarships du to low income status. On August 2, 2006, STEPS celebrated its tenth anniversary with a gala day of activities and events.
STEPS for Girls – A Brief Overview
STEPS for Girls was designed to be an intense immersion set of activities that provides technical (process and production systems), developmental (personal development and leadership), and recreational experiences. From arrival of the campers on Sunday afternoon until departure on
Bee, D., & Puck, B., & Heimdahl, P. (2007, June), Ten Years Of Steps Success: Significant Impact In Attracting Girls To Science, Technology, And Engineering Careers Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2982
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