SMU Lyle Engineering Campers Build Friendships, Bridges, Stereo Speakers ... and Job Prospects

Jun 11, 2010, 18:20 ET from SMU Lyle School of Engineering

Texas Workforce Commission Funds 2010 Camps for Middle and High School Girls

DALLAS, June 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the 6th year, the SMU Lyle School of Engineering will challenge middle and high school girls to break down barriers, shape society and realize their potential as part of summertime's Camp for Girls. As always, SMU Lyle offers its half-day, week long camp free of charge, this year thanks to a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) as well as funding from Texas Instruments and Raytheon.

"We want to take proactive steps to ensure that tomorrow's engineers, especially underrepresented girls, are prepared to fill projected openings in engineering," says Lyle Associate Dean Tammy L. Richards. "This collaborative effort forwards our goal of producing more female engineers entering the workforce in Texas and around the nation."

Beginning Monday, June 7 through June 25, campers will collaborate with women engineers serving as mentors from Texas Instruments and Raytheon. Students learn about the different fields of engineering through exposure to curriculum developed by SMU's The Infinity Project, as well as hands-on projects led by the visiting engineers from Texas Instruments and Raytheon. Camp runs Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. on the SMU campus.

According to a recent study by the National Engineers Week Foundation, only 8 percent of girls plan to pursue a career in engineering, largely because they don't know much about it or don't understand it.

That's why SMU Lyle created the Gender Parity Initiative more than 10 years ago—to achieve a one-to-one or greater ratio of men to women in the classroom and fill the estimated shortage of U.S. engineers by tapping an underrepresented source of engineering talent—women.

"This summer camp helps to build a diverse, highly skilled science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce in Texas," says TWC Commissioner Representing the Public Andres Alcantar. "It encourages our youth to prepare themselves for exciting opportunities in science and engineering careers."

SMU Lyle School of Engineering currently has 716 undergraduate students enrolled; 32 percent are female. Nationwide, only 20 percent of engineering graduates are female, according to the National Science Foundation, and only one other Texas school (Rice University) has as high a percentage of enrolled females.

"Girls are natural engineers," says Richards.  "They question, collaborate and problem solve every day. Our summer camps reinforce for girls the changing face of engineering, and the fact that engineers help change the world, from poverty eradication to preventing and containing catastrophic eco-disasters."

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Tammy Richards

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SOURCE SMU Lyle School of Engineering