Ohio State Camp Inspires Girls to Pursue Engineering Careers

Jul 25, 2013, 12:55 ET from The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company

COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Although women comprise 48 percent of the workforce, they hold only 24 percent of STEM (science, engineering, technology and math) jobs, according to a U.S. Department of Commerce report. In engineering, that percentage drops to 13.4 percent.

The Ohio State University College of Engineering—a leader in promoting STEM education and career awareness to young women and men—aims to change those statistics by hosting "WiE GROW," a hands-on summer camp designed to inspire eighth-grade girls to pursue engineering in college and beyond. WiE is an acronym for the college's Women in Engineering Program, which hosts the camp.

Sponsored by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (NYSE: SMG), WiE GROW will bring together students from across Ohio, July 29 to August 2, to participate in fun science- and engineering-related activities.

"The middle school age is critical for women to make decisions about entering the engineering profession," said Shawna Fletcher, interim director of Women in Engineering at Ohio State. "Many times, girls outperform boys in math and science at that age, but too often their performance doesn't translate into pursuing STEM professions. WiE GROW instills confidence and teaches girls about the impact they can have as an engineer to help people and society."

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company has been a committed partner in WiE Grow since 2005, helping the College of Engineering fulfill its mission of increasing the number of women engineers.

"The WiE Grow program is a wonderful gateway for young women to explore their interest in science and engineering." said Dave Swihart, senior vice president, Global Research & Development and Sourcing, ScottsMiracle-Gro. "ScottsMiracle-Gro and The Ohio State University College of Engineering are proud of this partnership that is nurturing our future leaders in the sciences."

At Ohio State, enrollment of women engineering students has steadily increased from 13.4 percent in 2007 to 18.9 percent in 2012, due in part to College of Engineering summer programs like the WiE GROW camp.

As one component of the camp, students complete mini-projects related to a range of engineering fields, including agriculture, environmental and materials science. This year, participants will build planters to learn about the engineering design process, from mechanical and computer-aided drawing to hands-on building of the planters themselves. With help from ScottsMiracle-Gro professionals, participants will learn about the science of making soil. Upon completion, campers will deliver the planters to a local nursing home as part of their community service experience.

Campers also will learn about industrial and systems engineering by designing ice cream scoopers for individuals who have trouble grasping objects; explore the processes biomedical engineers use to culture and grow bacteria; and tackle electrical engineering by making speakers out of cardboard, copper wire and magnets. In addition to emphasizing teamwork and creativity, the activities demonstrate the many ways that participants can use their interest and skills in math and science to make a difference in the world.

The last day of camp will be spent at ScottsMiracle-Gro's headquarters in Marysville, Ohio. Campers will tour company headquarters, participate in hands-on activities, and interact in small groups with female scientists and engineers to learn about their jobs and research. Participants also will give a presentation to their parents and ScottsMiracle-Gro associates about their week-long engineering project and what they learned during the camp. Finally, they will celebrate their accomplishments during a closing ceremony.

Evaluation of previous camps shows that WiE GROW is successful in engaging young girls in engineering. In 2012, 93 percent of WiE GROW attendees indicated the camp had a significant impact on helping them understand engineering better and 86 percent indicated the camp boosted their interest in an engineering career. In addition, 96 percent indicated that WiE GROW increased confidence in their ability to participate in engineering projects or activities. Increasing young girls' exposure to STEM and confidence in their abilities is critical in the pursuit of engineering as a profession, said Fletcher.

WiE GROW is also made possible through the participation of multiple Ohio State engineering departments and student camp counselors. For more information about Ohio State's Women in Engineering programs, visit http://wie.osu.edu.

About ScottsMiracle-Gro  With more than $2.8 billion in worldwide sales, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, The Scotts Company LLC, is the world's largest marketer of branded consumer products for lawn and garden care. The Company's brands are the most recognized in the industry. In the U.S., the Company's Scotts®, Miracle-Gro® and Ortho® brands are market-leading in their categories, as is the consumer Roundup® brand, which is marketed in North America and most of Europe exclusively by Scotts and owned by Monsanto. In the U.S., we operate Scotts LawnService®, the second largest residential lawn care service business.  In Europe, the Company's brands include Weedol®, Pathclear®, Evergreen®, Levington®, Miracle-Gro®, KB®, Fertiligene® and Substral®. For additional information, visit us at www.scotts.com.

SOURCE The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company