Saturday, March 21, 2015

Introduce a girl to engineering day gears girls toward science

Juliana Discher I Staff Writer

Women only make up 13.4% of the engineering workplace, according to the American Society for Engineering Education.

By holding “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” at Mason High School since 2009, event leaders hope to demolish this gender gap.

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day was held Saturday, March 21 from 8:45 am-12:00 pm. Sixty girls in grades 7-12 attended. According to Lead Learning Coach for Science, Shanna Bumiller, the key goal behind this event is exposure.

“We want to expose girls to the field of engineering,” Bumiller said. “This is one of the areas, when you look at careers, which is very underrepresented by the female population. We want girls to get interested early on in the hopes that they pursue something later in life.”

Bumiller said that she believes society today isn't as encouraging to young girls interested in science as it should be.

“If you look at Disney Channel shows these days, the intelligence of girls is not played up,” Bumiller said. “Hopefully this little slice will show that there are a lot of successful female engineers out there.”

AP Physics teacher and event helper, DeeDee Messer, has had first-hand experience with female gender stereotypes.

“It was less than twenty years ago that I was in college and I was the only girl in my Physics class,” Messer said. “When I walked in on the first day, the Physics professor asked me if I was in the right room. There are a lot of stereotypes that we have to knock down from decades past. We hope that in the younger generations they don’t have these stereotypes. It’s a slow process—an evolution.”

Event attendee and freshman Aboli Kesbhat said she sees the importance of women getting into this underdeveloped field.

“Everybody talks about how the field of engineering is male dominated, so the more woman get into it, it diversifies what they can do in the job force,” Kesbhat said.

Kesbhat said she has found it personally beneficial to attend this event.

“The more you come to this event, the more options you can see which helps you decide what you want to do when you’re older,” Kesbhat said. “I want to pursue Biomedical Engineering, so I found talking to the women engineers very useful.”

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