Archived Story

‘Engineer Girl’ gives female students early taste of potential science careers

Published 11:29am Monday, March 25, 2013

With an educated interest in mathematics, engineering and the sciences, the career possibilities for women are endless. Twenty six fifth- and sixth-grade girls learned just that at the American Association University Women’s “Engineer Girl” event in the Kennedy Secondary School cafeteria on Saturday.

“Our goal is to get young girls interested in atypical careers for women,” said Kristi Hastings, who is the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Coordinator for the AAUW in Fergus Falls. “These are high-paying jobs that are important to the community and ones that girls sometimes don’t know about.”

At the event, girls split up into three groups and were assigned a task to complete together, from moving a Hot Wheels car a certain distance to launching a ping-pong ball into the air. The girls then brainstormed and engineered a machine out of everyday materials, like string, tubes and rulers, to meet their goal.

With female mentors from the community to guide them, the girls learn about different careers during AAUW events. One recent get-together featured representatives from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine who presented the group with information on becoming scientists. The event Saturday also ended with a presentation from Alex Cabrerra of the OtterBots robotics team on the opportunities with engineering in high school.

Hastings said she hopes that bringing the young girls together will get them used to being involved with a community of women active in these fields everyday.

“I just hope they meet someone new and enjoy getting together with girls that share similar interests,” said Hastings.

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  • Elliot Dallavalle

    This is a fantastic story. I am impressed. I have a college age daughter who is studying in the science field at Mac in St. Paul and her interest was peaked early on by a similar experience. This kind of mentorship program does indeed work. Keep up the good work Kristi.

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