Diversity in Engineering
Girls taking apart motorcycle
Photo by Wendy Candler
The fundamental purpose of Techsplorers is to make engineering accessible to everyone. AND EVERYONE MEANS GIRLS TOO! ENGINEERING IS NOT JUST FOR BOYS!
I have worked in industry for 21 years and many of my design engineering colleagues are women. I can assure you that they are every bit as capable as the men. The same goes for ethnicity. I've worked with talented engineers from all over the world.
One of the most important things that we do in Techsplorers is to make sure that we recruit a diverse group of instructors into the classroom so that each student has a role model they can identify with.
Two of the instructors from the 2011 summer camps are outstanding engineering students at NC State:
Wendy Candler: Mechanical Engineering undergrad (4.0 GPA)
Lisa Lundeen: Grad student w/ BS Civil Engineering (3.2 GPA)
These two young women serve as first hand proof to the girls in the classroom that not only do women participate in the field of engineering -- they excel at it!
Another important thing that we do in Techsplorers is to create a friendly and supportive environment. I know that may sound a bit cliche but its actually very important. You'd have to see it in action to fully appreciate this "engineering esprit de corp." Engineers are often times a bit eccentric and quirky. Sometimes the kids come in a bit shy, but within a day or so they relax and really start to be themselves, even their quirky selves -- and it's totally okay!
We talk to the kids about listening to the ideas of others, to brainstorm effectively, to work together as a team to create the best designs possible we need the ideas from everyone, even the weird guy. It's sending the constant message that it is perfectly okay to be who you are. You are a member of this design team and we all value you.
I love it when I see one of the more shy students come out of their shell to realize that they are surrounded by people just like them. And what they are identifying with transcends race and gender.
The engineering environment is fundamentally unbiased by its very nature. Getting the kids to experience the esprit de corp of engineering helps them feel welcomed into the world of their intellectual peers who judge them by their merits, not by their gender or race.
Who says nail polish and engines don't go together?
2012 Instructor and NCSU Aerospace Engineer, Karoline Saunders, likes to study engines too and also can explain an electronic circuit schematic diagram to inquisitive students. Photos by Stacey Kaufman.
Engine is being worked on by a team of 3 female students.
Photo by Stacey Kaufman
One of our 2011 instructors, Cory Hinton (a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering), was an excellent mentor and role model for our minority students in the classroom. I attended his wedding recently... Congrats Danna and Cory!!!
Here's a photo from 2011 showing Cory and Wendy working with students.
Photo by Ravenscroft staff member.
Putting a diverse mix of successful college engineering students into the classroom to serve as role models is one of the key ways in which the Techsplorers program motivates ALL of our students to pursue careers in engineering.
2012 Instructor Krishna helping student get engine back together.
We get all kinds of students in Techsplorers. Engineering has no borders.
Photos by Stacey Kaufman
The bottom line is that engineering is for everyone.
If you have suggestions as to how we can make Techsplorers more accessible to girls and minority students please contact us and let's discuss your ideas!