The Girls in Engineering and Technology program, hosted by Madisonville Community
College and funded through a grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), is changing
the career mindset of 6th grade girls in Hopkins and Muhlenberg counties. Ranging
in ages of 11-13, there were 333 participants over the course of 5 program days.
Activities included the simulation of the energy production process from the Western
Kentucky coal mines to the TVA Power Plant to the households and businesses in our
area. Working in teams, students were asked to construct a pipeline from the mine
to TVA Paradise Plant with the end result being to light model homes and schools.
Nontraditional careers were highlighted by women who are already working in the field
or who are studying at the high school/college level.
At the beginning of each program day, the students were given a pre-interest survey
asking if a career in engineering/technology would be considered. The same question
was asked at the end of the day in a post-interest survey. Tabulated results show
that interest in engineering/technology career almost doubled 80% of the post-survey
responses indicated an interest as compared to 41% in the pre-survey.
Providing the students with exposure to science and engineering through fun hands-on
activities helps them to break down possible math and science barriers when considering
high school courses, shared MCC Director of Workforce Solutions Mike Davenport.
Students from Browning Springs Middle School, James Madison Middle School, South Hopkins
Middle School, Muhlenberg North Middle School, and Muhlenberg South Middle School
participated in the 2014 program.
As noted by futureengineers.com, engineering has been a male-dominated profession.
However, universities and the engineering industry are recognizing the need for women
engineers and are actively recruiting young women at the high school level to enter
the field. Engineers are problem solvers who apply math, science, technology, and
design to problems in business and government. Their skills are usually applied to
high-tech, scientific, or industrial fields. Most engineers are specialists in computer,
mechanical, chemical, software, or aerospace engineering. An interest in mathematics
and science is a prerequisite for a successful career in engineering.
Engineergirl.org is a fun website for students to learn more about engineers, careers,
fun facts, essay contests, and more.