February 17, 2013

Introduce A Girl To Engineering #STEMChat (2/20/13)

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Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

She wants to be a chemist. My daughter told me that when she was about 6 years old. She was pretty sure that’s what she wanted to be when she grew up. And then she asked, “Girls can be chemists right?”

I consider myself fortunate that I could answer her with an emphatic “yes” because I know women who are chemists. I also know women who use their mathematics, physics, and engineering degrees. I can tell her about friends like Ginger who works at NASA, Pamela who has a degree in mathematics and teaches future STEM teachers, and Adriana who is an engineer for a multi-national company. But I know this is not the norm. Girls today still do not have many role models in these fields. But that’s starting to change.

Today marks the beginning of National Engineers Week, a weeklong celebration of the contributions engineers make to society. Specifically, Girls in EngineeringFebruary 21, 2013 marks National Engineers Week Foundation’s 12th Annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. Through workshops, labs, and in-class discussions, women engineers are connecting with young girls to share their passion about science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This opportunity to step outside the lab (or desk) and work with girls of all ages, honors the commitment to nurture the love of engineering.

The reality for BabyGirl is that she is often one of very few girls in her robotics classes. It’s her who teaches many of the boys, yet she’s often overlooked as a peer when it comes to science and engineering activities. And while her teachers, both women, excel in math and science, it’s still a struggle for her to get equal footing among all the boys. She doesn’t always need pink and sparkly, glittery examples to work with, although she identifies more with these than the often “boy-centric” games, colors, and tools.

On Wednesday, February 20th, I am joining a panel of women to facilitate a discussion about girls in STEM. As part of the Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, the February #STEMChat will focus on girls in engineering. Hosted by Kim Moldofsky (@KimMoldofsky) from The Maker Mom, this month’s chat will focus on how we can encourage and support girls who want to be engineers and offering information on STEM careers for girls. National Engineers Week has useful Girl Day information and resources, including some in Spanish to help you find a 2013 Girl Day event near you, or located engineering related books.

Several of the keys to introducing girls to becoming an engineer include making engineering women accessible, exploring all the jobs an engineer can do, and creating cool engineering resources for girls (and boys, too!). Join me, National Engineers Week Foundation, and, my friend, Kim, along with a phenomenal panel of women for what will be a fun discussion about encouraging girls in engineering.

What: Introduce a Girl to Engineering #STEMChat

When: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 9pm ET/6pm PT

Where: On Twitter using #EweekGD and #STEMChat

Panel:

  • Jennifer Wright, @RocketScientist, a Lockheed Martin engineer, STEM mentor, world traveler, and #NASASocial alum.
  • DeeAnn Turpin, @BioEnggCat13, a member of 2011’s inaugural class of New Faces of Engineering, College Edition and student of Biological Systems Engineering at Kansas State University.
  • Leticia Barr, @TechSavvyMama, is a mom of 2 elementary aged children who uses her experience as a former teacher and technology specialist for a large DC Metro to champion STEM learning in her own kids while providing tips for her TechSavvyMama.com readers on integrating STEM topics at home. She also shares tech savvy goodness at her Tech Savvy Parents column on Parents.com.
  • Shelly Kramer, @ShellyKramer, is the founder + CEO of V3 Integrated Marketing. She is a brand strategist serving clients in both the B2B and B2C space. She’s also the mother of four daughters and passionate about STEM education and opportunities for girls.
  • Kelly Whalen @CentsibleLife, is a blogger, social media consultant, and tech-loving mom of four kids, some of whom are active in the VEX robotics league.

Disclosure: I am a compensated panelist for the Introduce a Girl to Engineering #STEMChat. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Photos courtesy of Engineer Week Foundation.

Sara

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