The Kansas City Section of the Society of Women Engineers is expecting at least 270 high school girls to turn out next week for the seventh annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day at Bartle Hall.
The point of the day is to allow high school girls to learn a little about what an engineer looks like and what it takes to become one, organizers said. The other goal is to inspire the next generation of female engineers.
“While women represent a significant portion of the workforce, they are still grossly underrepresented in engineering,” said Adriana Aguilar, president of the Society of Women Engineers, which sponsors Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.
“Women have skills and talents that add value to the engineering workplace; this event allows high school students to see and learn from local female engineers,” Aguilar said.
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This year with the popularity of Hollywood’s “Hidden Figures,” girls may already be getting an extra push to consider an engineering career. The movie is based on the true story of some of the first women at NASA, including Mary Jackson, the first black woman to be an engineer at NASA in the 1950s.
Students who attend the Bartle Hall event — scheduled for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 3 — and about 105 female mentors will go through an Industry Fair. The fair includes companies from across the greater Kansas City area and includes a program to learn about types of engineering, from civil to mechanical to computer engineering. Attendees will also hear a panel of college students talk about studying in the engineering field on the higher education level.
Tara Ruttley, associate program scientist for the International Space Station for NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, will be the keynote speaker.
Science-related data from the U.S. Department of Education was released Tuesday by Change the Equation, a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) literacy advocacy group. According to the report, states using Next Generation Science Standards — including Kansas — are showing improvement in efforts to integrate engineering and technology into their science classrooms.
Those performance results show improved performance of both boys and girls in K-12 education in those states.