Engineering: It's for Girls, Too!

PI: James Martin, P.E., North Carolina State University

Co-PIs:  Nina Barker, Florida T2 Center, University of Florida; Lily Elefteriadou, Ph.D., University of Florida

Final Report

UTC Project Information

The Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and the University of Florida Transportation Research Center (TRC) plans to collaborate with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) to offer engineering, particularly transportation engineering, as a viable career option for girls. This project plans to use a series of one-day workshops targeted at sophomore and junior high school level girls in North Carolina and Florida. Girls at this level are taking classes to meet requirements for college admission and they may decide to take more math and science if they can see a benefit. We anticipate offering 13 workshops throughout North Carolina and Florida in conjunction with Engineers Week in February 2013. Engineers Week is the signature program of the National Engineers Week Foundation that acknowledges the positive contributions made by engineers and serves an outreach to youth.

Participants for the workshops will be identified through instructors at high school Career Development Centers. The workshops will be held at locations away from the school grounds to encourage the feeling of fun. Being away from school also provides an opportunity for girls with similar interests to get together and discover commonalities. Experiential hands-on activities, speakers, role models, and mentoring opportunities will serve to engage and inspire. Participants will be divided into groups with a minimum of one female engineer paired with each group. Boxed lunches will be provided to allow more time for small group interaction.

An accompanying website will be used to help market the events as well as continue the learning experience by providing resources to supplement the concepts learned during the workshops. The website will also serve as a resource to high school teachers. A companion piece to this project is the establishment of a student chapter of WTS at NCSU. CTE will collaborate with the TRC at the University of Florida (UF) to establish this chapter. The UF student chapter of WTS is the first recognized student chapter of WTS International.