Clemson University’s message to Girl Scouts: ‘Engineers dream big!’
About 100 Girl Scouts filled some of Clemson University’s labs and classrooms on Feb. 25 to learn how they might seek careers in science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM.
The Clemson programs PEER and WISE collaborated on “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” with Lockheed Martin and the Girl Scouts of South Carolina Mountains to Midlands. It was the collaboration’s 18th year.
The Girl Scouts attended sessions on chemical engineering, computer engineering, chemistry and civil engineering. Students also had lunch with PEER and WISE mentors, giving them an opportunity to see females and minorities pursuing STEM careers.
Most of the participants were in middle school, a time when researchers have found that peer pressure and other factors cause some girls to lose interest in STEM.
Women comprise about half of all employed college graduates but represent just 28 percent of individuals with college degrees who are working in engineering and science, according to the National Science Board.
Serita Acker, the director of PEER and WISE, said that female under-representation in STEM fields has nothing to do with ability.
“Women do well in STEM academically, but many choose other majors when they reach college,” she said. “We want to change that by showing them role models who have been successful in STEM fields. It’s critical that we widen the talent pipeline from higher education to industry.”
This year’s theme was, “Engineers Dream Big!” You can see photos of this year’s event here.