Thursday, November 13, 2008

Catherine Didion Keynote

I'm attending some meetings and Catherine Didion from the National Academy of Engineering just gave a great keynote about girls and engineering.  Here are my notes:

“Rising above the gathering storm” – NRC report

  •  Assumptions and stereotypes about who does science and engineering still exist – Time mag front page, 
  • Assumptions and stereotypes about women - Newsweek “What Women Want” cover Sept 22, 2008
  •  Assumptions about who will be the future leaders in science and technology impact students’ choices – example full page ad in Feb 17, 2006 CDG Science Implicit Association Test

Girls of color are much more interested in sciences than white girls, but they are very underrepresented at the undergraduate level.

How do we keep them away?

  •       Lack of integration of STEM courses with other parts of the curriculum
  • Contributions of women and minorities are virtually invisible – no role models – the instructors there may not be who the students want to be   
  • Much of the science and engineering work seems devoid of any social relevance
  •       Constrained curriculum with many critical paths 

Busch-Vishniac and Jarosz, “Can Diversity in the Undergraduate Engineering Population be Enhanced Through Curricular Change?” Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, Vol 10, 2004

What Engineers Tell Young People:

  • Engineering is stressful and challenging
  • Stress the importance of SUPERIOR math and science abilities
  • “It’s not easy – but if you’re the type who when faced with a problem some would call impossible is even more driven to move mountains to find a solution, then you might have it in you to be an engineer”

IEEE is training engineers who go into classrooms, “first do no harm” – they have a webinar Most popular part – ask an engineer

Imagine that! is an Engineering contest

Zits Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Help and allow students to communicate through technology they use – You Tube (Large Hadron Rap), Facebook groups, iTunes science section

High School: Non-white girls (41%) are more likely than white girls (~21%) to say that engineering is a “good career” (Study by WGBH)

Message Testing:

For girls one of the strongest messages was: Live Your Life, Love What You Do. 42% of girls & 41% of boys rated this very appealing and 8% somewhat appealing. Tope tested message among non-white girls (44%).

Other top messages were: Creativity Has its Rewards and A World of Difference

Our traditional messages are not about risk-taking or being part of a group. Reinforce what students think they want to do. Military is doing this now.

Take the 10 best and 10 worst behaviors of students and use them in your marketing

Parents are an important constituent group – kids listen to their parents

For girls, older girls are important sources of information. Popular personalities are not

Engineer Your Life  -  Totally open source – you can throw your name on it, download it, use it!  Includes PPT for use with guidance counselors!!

“A lot of the work we’ve done is to change people’s perception of the potential of the students"

 "Help students try on careers the way they try on clothing. Help them get comfortable and see what they are. They have a lot more control"

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