Engineers Change the World: A Hands-on Workshop for 13- to 18-Year-Old Girls

UTC Project Information

The Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) at North Carolina State University and the University of Florida Transportation Institute (UFTI) will continue the STRIDE funded project “Engineering: It’s for Girls Too” renamed “Engineers Change the World.” We will provide a series of experiential workshops for 13- to 18-year-old girls that will instill an understanding of how engineering touches their lives on a daily basis. CTE will partner with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to offer a series of one-day workshops targeted at, but not limited to, junior and senior high school-level girls in North Carolina. We anticipate offering three workshops in conjunction with Engineering Week in February 2014.

Experiential activities, speakers, question and answer periods, and role models will be featured. CTE and UFTI will both partner with their local chapters of Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) to offer Transportation YOU workshops - a hands-on, interactive, mentoring program that offers young girls an introduction to a wide variety of transportation careers. CTE will partner with WTS NC Triangle to offer five Transportation YOU workshops offered after school. Each workshop focuses on a topic related to transportation engineering and features a presentation and a hands-on activity that demonstrates the highlighted engineering principle. UFTI will partner with the WTS UF student chapter, the Central Florida WTS chapter and other WTS chapters to conduct hands-on workshops that feature a panel of female university engineering students and professional engineers as well as hands-on activities, videos and presentations. Department of Transportation employees will be invited as speakers. All of these workshops will provide examples of the type of work done by transportation engineers. Participants will hear successful women in engineering discuss their goals, ambitions, and experiences. Girls will see engineers as problem solvers and learn how engineering employs a creative process. They will learn that engineering requires good written and oral communication.

These workshops will present a series of creative hands-on activities that illustrate the creative process associated with each task and illustrate how good communication skills can make them more efficient. Through these workshops, girls will view engineering as a career that is relevant to things that are important in their lives, such as the environment or traffic congestion. Through these workshops, girls will learn what they need in preparation for a career in engineering. The will learn the importance of developing critical thinking and problem solving skills by taking courses in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). In addition to the workshops, UFTI and the WTS student chapter at the University of Florida are currently working with WTS International to establish guidelines and policies for student chapters of the organization. CTE will collaborate with UFTI in continuing the establishment of a student chapter of WTS in the Triangle region of North Carolina. The students will benefit from their association with WTS and will become role models for the girls in the workshops in which they participate.

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