If you have a daughter in grades 3-12, there are a number of opportunities around the country where your daughter can explore careers in science and engineering. I urge parents to take advantage of these opportunities even if their daughter hasn’t expressed an interest in these fields. The programs are usually focused on pre-college career exploration and expose girls to these topics through fun and engaging activities.
Pre-college science and engineering experiences for girls can range from one-day to several weeks in the summer. For example, the Women in Engineering chapter at Ohio State University offers “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” for girls in Grades 3-6. (No, that’s not too early!) The 2010 program will be held on Saturday, June 5 in Columbus, Ohio. The registration is only $15 and it includes a parent program. Registration is limited to 100 girls and last year’s program sold out. If you would like to register, here’s the link:
Another side benefit to this program and those similar is that it facilitates the selection process for college and future majors in college. I could have saved myself a lot of time and money if I had been exposed to diverse fields prior to college. I entered college as a science major with very little understanding of how that would translate to the quality of my college years or a career after college. Fortunately, my university required that students took courses across eight content areas. Through taking “required” courses, my eyes were opened to new subjects that I had never even heard about in high school. (Let’s face it . . . there is still a wide academic gap between high school and college.) I found my underlying strengths and passions through those other courses, which contributed to a more satisfying college experience.
If you know of other programs for girls, please feel free to post here. If you want to learn about potential opportunities for your daughter/sister/niece, you can also visit the websites of Women in Engineering or major colleges of engineering, i.e. Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Women Technology Program or GAMES at University of Illinois.