UA Women Engineers Inspiring Next Generation
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Hoping to inspire girls to consider engineering, The University of Alabama section of the Society of Women Engineers, or SWE, will host close to 200 middle-school girls in a day-long event of activities.
The “Wow! That’s Engineering!” event is open to girls in the sixth through eighth grades, along with their parents and teachers, and will be on campus Sept. 15. During the day, girls can participate in hands-on events meant to let them experience the innovation and creativity of engineering and technology.
“Middle school is the time when students begin choosing the path that they will take through high school, and studies done with girls and engineering show that if you wait until high school, many of the girls have already opted out of the track that they would need to prepare for engineering – heavy math and science,” said Dr. Beth Todd, associate professor of mechanical engineering and adviser to UA SWE.
“If you work with girls in middle school, they have all taken the same classes up until that point, and it is easier to get them on the right academic plan to study engineering,” Todd said.
Created and sponsored by the national Society of Women Engineers, the UA section was selected as one of four sites to host a “Wow! That’s Engineering!” event this year.
Rachel Mitchell, a senior in chemical engineering and president of UA SWE, said she became interested in engineering when she attended a SWE event in middle school, and the group is excited to host because the members know the potential impact of “Wow! That’s Engineering!”
“Many girls don’t really understand what engineering is, and they certainly don’t see that it’s something they could spend their lives doing. I know I didn’t before the SWE event I attended,” she said. “Our goal is that the girls in attendance will gain an understanding of engineering and what it really is; after that, hopefully they’ll look into it as a possible way to invest their lives.”
Activities include electrically wiring a dance pad, building a merry go round using gears, building a solar car from a kit and cleaning a simulated oil spill with different methods. The theme of the event is “Energize Your Future.”
Registration is open through Sept. 7. The cost for students is $5, which includes lunch. The event is scheduled from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
There is no cost for parents and educators, who can attend a separate program that includes a special hands-on activity along with the chance to hear and network with engineers, university faculty, science and engineering experts along with students.
For more information visit http://wowuaswe.eventbrite.com.
In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s fully accredited College of Engineering has more than 3,300 students and more than 100 faculty. In the last eight years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Portz and Truman scholars.
The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.