Engineers around the world are constantly shaping our future. They are behind the big curtain making the technologies that change our lives. Unfortunately, in a field dominated by men, half of the United States’ population is severely underrepresented. With only 11% of engineers in this country being women, we are drastically limiting our own perspective.
From a young age there is an unspoken bias against women in engineering and science. I personally still remember selecting electives in middle school and discovering I was the only girl in my coding class, as well as my editing lab. That’s why I’m proud to say during “Engineering Week,” that now I see hope.
For the past two years I’ve been a counselor/specialist at URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy. I’ve spent my last two summers teaching film, but also working closely with girls in grades 5 – 7. These young girls are some of the most remarkable I’ve seen yet. Their love for chemistry experiments and designing robots, shows me that we as a country do have a chance at increasing that 11%.
Two of our core values, Sakranut (curiosity) and Taglit (discovery), often stood out as I’d overhear my girls ask questions like, “How can I incorporate gravity into my game design?” or at lunch say things like, “I never knew how important gear ratios were!” Our chugim give girls the chance to explore new opportunities like 3D printing, Augmented Reality, and Python Programming.
By encouraging girls of all ages to become engineers and designers we as a camp community help them discover the power they have to make a difference. Combine this with female counselors and instructors who already show a dedication to STEM and you have a recipe for inspiration.
Overall a more diverse engineering workforce means our society is better prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. So this week go out and introduce your daughter, niece, sister, cousin, neighbor, or friend to engineering.
Delaney Cotton is a counselor at URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy.
This blog was originally published on the 6 Points Sci-Tech Blog.