Advice for a group of middle school girls

Terita,
I would like to thank you for making yourself available for questions. I recently facilitated a group called Girls Go Green, the girls met after school to manufacture a product that would be made from recycled materials. The final product would be entered into a competition. The girls are African American and in middle school or on their way to high school. I will be meeting with them one last time and would like to know if you have any advice that you could pass on to them. A big focus of this group is to increase the interest of minorities in STEM related careers.

Thank you,

J.Pinn
posted by Mrs. Pinn, Girls Go Green on July 8, 2013

Answer by Ms Terita Norton

Dear Mrs. Pinn,

Thank you for your support of the youth especially African American females. What I've found is that a number of female students regardless of ethnicity still consider engineering to be field for male or something boring. To change this perception I've found it helpful to relate the aspects of engineering that speak to feminine needs. For example talk to the cosmetic fields that use chemical, biomedical and electrical engineers to produce products like skin care items, and equipment for medical procedures like child birth. Hand-on activities are great for peaking their interest. In terms of African American girls in general it helps to see another African American in the field of engineering to which they can relate. Organizations like the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Society of Women Engineers (SWE) are great resources to share with your students. Additionally television programs like "Gadget Girls" also highlight the great accomplishments of female engineers and scientists. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance to your students.

Regards,

Terita Norton