Michiana programs encouraging girls to get into STEM - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Michiana programs encouraging girls to get into STEM

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"I did an engineering tech prep in high school and I was the only girl out of about 16 guys," Olivia McIntee said.

She just graduated with a dual degree in math and mechanical engineering from Notre Dame and St. Mary's. She says she's starting her first engineering job this summer thanks to her family's encouragement. St. Mary's Professor Kristin Kuter, says there are still too few women in science, tech, engineering, and math.

"The stereotype that women can't do math and science is going away by and large. I mean there's still lots of work to do," Professor Kuter said.

Professor Kuter says studies show that younger girls actually outperform boys in subjects like math and science, but as those girls age, somewhere between middle school and high school, they start to under perform in those areas.

There are several Michiana programs encouraging girls to get into STEM subjects. St. Mary's College offers scholarships for studies in science and math. They also host local seventh grade girls for Hypatia Day, named after the first known female mathematician.

"They lead these 7th grade students through lab activities. They get them into the classrooms. They encourage them. They have lots of fun. They're very enthusiastic. They give them a role model and show them they can continue. They can do this," Professor Kuter said.

Purdue University's College of Technology has summer camps that introduce Michiana kids to engineering. Professor Sarah Leach is working on creating one just for girls for next summer. She says she hopes it will get more girls interested.

"You're thinking through problems, visualizing solutions. I think all those things are important and maybe if more girls realized they had those strengths they may be more interested in STEM careers," Professor Leach said.

Consult these websites to find other programs encouraging girls to work in STEM fields:
-http://www.girlscoutsnorthernindiana-michiana.org/
-http://www.campchannel.com/Indiana/South-Bend-Summer-Camps.shtml

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