Jackie Gish, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems asked Mary Isaac, Society of Women Engineers

PostedWednesday, December 2, 2015 at 4:50 PM

What do you think is the best way and age to engage girls with engineering?
I am a member of the LinkEngineering committee and mentor high school and graduate school young women, although not all of them are interested in technical fields.  
1 Answer
  • Linda Kekelis , Linda Kekelis Consulting
    Posted Tuesday, December 29, 2015 at 1:04 PM
    It’s never too early or too late to engage girls in engineering. I have supported girls in after-school programs in elementary, middle, and high schools and they all discovered a love for engineering design and many found an interest in a career in engineering. While the experiences were tailored to their ages, what they have in common are the following elements: 1) recruitment strategies that are personalized and welcoming to girls who already have an interest as well as girls who don’t know that they might like to do engineering; 2) a physical and social environment that is welcoming to girls; 3) projects that are open-ended so that they can accommodate a wide range of prior experiences and personal interests; 4) connection to interests that are relevant to girls; 5) the right balance of fun and challenge with encouragement from adults that promotes growth mindset; and 6) opportunities to explore careers connected with projects which involves role models who are trained to be engaging. Jackie and others interested in engaging more girls in engineering, I’ll be working on a series of blogs about ways to recruit and retain girls in engineering programs that I hope you will find of interest. 
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