9:11 a.m., Sept. 15, 2010----Graduate engineering students are taking their science on the road to raise awareness about careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Funded through an AAUW 2010-2011 Community Action Grant, the University of Delaware program “Starting a Cycle of Mentoring: STEM Women and Girls in Delaware” seeks to address the scarcity of females pursuing careers in these fields.
Under the grant, 10 female graduate students from UD's College of Engineering will visit area high schools to introduce science teachers to the research that takes place at the University. The graduate students will design posters to explain their research to the teachers, who can then provide beneficial information about STEM careers to their students.
The program culminates next spring at the AAUW math-science honors luncheon, held annually to honor Delaware's most promising 11th-grade girls. By attending and presenting their posters at the luncheon, the graduate students will personally mentor those being honored, along with their family members, about the scope and rewards of a career in STEM.
“Women are underrepresented in many STEM fields. This program supports girls in pursuing desirable careers that have traditionally been male-dominated. It is a nice complement to AAUW's mission and provides our graduate students an opportunity to hone their communication skills by explaining their science to the public,” explains Pam Cook, professor of mathematical sciences and of chemical engineering and associate dean of the College of Engineering, who directs the UD program. The program is coordinated in partnership with the Newark, Del., branch of the AAUW.
“Our goal is to inspire high school students to pursue these rewarding and high-paying jobs,” says Heather Doty, who manages the UD AAUW award.
Since 1972, AAUW has provided support to hundreds of communities around the United States. Community Action Grants provide seed money for innovative programs and nondegree research projects that promote education and equity for women and girls. Special consideration is given to projects that focus on girls' and young women's achievement in math, science, and technology. In 2010, AAUW awarded 33 grants for a total of $260,000.
Article by Karen B. Roberts