One of the only places where girls can be found doing math problems on a Saturday morning is at the Saturday Morning Engineering Club at CSU.
The club, put on by the Women and Minorities in the Engineering Program, has been running every Saturday since Sept. 28. Girls in fourth through sixth grades from the Poudre Valley area come to the Engineering Building Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon and work on math problems and engineering projects.
The girls were selected on a first come, first serve basis, said Angelisa Hicks, a senior in mechanical engineering who helps with the program. She added that each week the girls start with math modules then finish with an engineering portion.
This engineering program in past weeks has included building rockets and making polymers. Saturday, the girls made a miniature oil-spill and learned how to clean it, using techniques similar to those of professional engineers.
“The hands-on activities are the motivator,” said Benita Phillips, director of the Women and Minorities in Engineering Program. “Math isn’t something they want to do, but the hands on portion shows that how science works and how engineers work with the science is interesting.”
This is the first year of the program, which is funded by the Xcel Energy Foundation.
“We wanted to do some sort of outreach for a number of years because of the low number of women and minorities enrolled in engineering,” Phillips said. “Girls stop out of math in fifth and sixth grades; hopefully this program will help that statistic.”
The program hopes to increase the number of women in a field that is traditionally dominated by males.
“We’re at the stage where boys excel in math and science, so the goal is to advance girls so we can have more of them in these fields in the future,” Hicks said.
The Women and Minorities in Engineering Program plans to offer more sessions in coming semesters.
-Edited by Colleen Buhrer, Shandra Jordan and Ben Koerselman