Nearly 250 girls ages 2 to 16 were introduced to the possibility of becoming engineers during "Introduce a Girl to Engineering," a fun and educational program put on by the Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering programs at St. Ambrose University.
The Feb. 18 event was conducted in partnership with nine area companies and organizations in the Rogalski Center Ballroom. The program featured multiple exhibitions and activities intended to spur the imaginations of girls, who tend to view engineering differently than boys, said Jodi Prosise, PhD, an assistant professor of engineering.
"The fact is, women and minorities are motivated by different things," Prosise said. "It is important for us to appeal to these different motivations. At St. Ambrose, our engineering programs focus on the human side of industrial and mechanical engineering. We show all students how they can use their skills in mathematics and science to make a difference in the world."
According to the most recent National Science Foundation study, women made up less than 18 percent of the total students enrolled in undergraduate engineering programs in the US in 2009.
The study showed the engineering workforce included only 12.7 percent of women, who made an average of $10,000 less in the field.
More than 50 volunteers from nine different local companies and organizations joined SAU engineering staff and students in hopes of encouraging young girls to pursue engineering degrees in the future at the Feb. 18 event.