Texas A&M University-Commerce Engineering Summer Program offers the opportunity for female middle school students who have demonstrated ability in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas to work in teams on several STEM projects ranging from programming robots to designing and creating model wood bridges.
“This marks the eighth year that the Department of Engineering and Technology has offered a summer engineering program and only the second where the emphasis has been solely on middle school girls,” said Dr. Andrea Graham, assistant professor of engineering and technology.
Funded by a Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Grant Award, the goal of the program is to provide students with an early opportunity to explore engineering as a potential career and to help prepare students for the academic rigors of engineering coursework.
The goal of the program is being accomplished using a three-phase approach:
I – To Enlighten: Throughout the camp presentations, camp counselors and invited industry guests will help to invalidate perceptions and stereotypes that many girls have experienced regarding their math and science abilities.
II – To Engage: Students will participate in hands-on activities and begin to consider solutions to real life issues facing our world in a team-centered environment.
III – To Empower: Through interactive activities and information, students will gain knowledge about engineering disciplines and be encouraged to pursue these careers without hesitation.
“It is well known that females are drastically underrepresented in engineering disciplines, and while academia is making great strides in recruiting more women to major in engineering disciplines, we still lag behind in retention and persistence in the fields,” Dr. Graham said.