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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.905 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2014006726
pages 11-20

EFFECTS OF AN AFTER SCHOOL ENGINEERING MENTORING PROGRAM ON MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS' PERCEPTIONS OF ENGINEERS

Rebekah Hammack
College of Education, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078, USA
Karen High
College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078, USA

ABSTRACT

Traditionally, women have been underrepresented in the physical science, technology, and engineering fields. Many girls shy away from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as they near the teenage years, making early adolescence an important time to study girls' perceptions of engineers. The goals of the current study were to identify girls' perceptions of engineers and determine what impact participating in an after school mentoring program has on those perceptions. Sixth and seventh grade girls (N = 68) were asked to draw a picture of an engineer at work before and after participating in an after school engineering mentoring program at a suburban middle school they attended. The results indicate that prior to participating in the mentoring program, the participants viewed engineers as people who build and fix things. After participating in the program, the girls' perceptions of engineers changed to that of creative problem solvers who work to help people and improve the world. The findings have implications for the development of interventions aimed at recruiting more females in the engineering fields.


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