September 26, 2008
Campaign Encourages Women To Be Engineers
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT "When I grow up I wanna be an . . . engineer?" Apparently, that's not something too many young woman are saying these days. In fact, research indicates that low enrollment rates of collegebound women choosing engineering as their major have led to dwindling numbers of females entering the profession, suggesting that women do not perceive engineering as relevant to their educational or professional goals.
Engineer Your Life (www.engineeryourlife.org) is a national campaign that aims to enlighten girls about the opportunities available in the world of engineering. Spearheaded by members of the engineering community and WGBH (a PBS station in Boston), the program is built around three key messages-creativity has its rewards, make a world of difference and explore the possibilities- which aim to change the perceptions high-school girls might have about engineering and to encourage them to enroll in undergraduate engineering programs.
Through its website, the initiative showcases 12 in-depth profiles of young female engineers whose choices embody the campaign's key messages and provides information on the paths they took to reach their professional goals. The goal: To present engineering as a realistic option for young women.
Consider this profile of Daniele Lantagne, which highlights how engineers make a difference: Daniele was a committed environmentalist by the time she entered high school. Instead of choosing to major in environmental science, she decided that truly making a difference would require the technical knowledge provided by a degree in engineering. With a background in both science and engineering, Lantagne found a focus on public health and began working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
At CDC, Lantagne grappled with the problem of providing developing nations with safe drinking water. More than 1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water, and about 2 million people-most of them children-die each year from cholera, typhoid and other waterborne diseases. Lantagne's work is helping to change that. "An engineering degree is really about problem solving," says Lantagne, "figuring out what a problem is and how to fix it."
The site also includes descriptions of 11 engineering disciplines, with information on typical projects and starting salaries, as well as academic information, including background on required courses and paths of study for high school undergraduate and graduate students.
Copyright American Society of Safety Engineers Sep 2008
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