If you think back to your days in high school, having to figure out your future in your last year can be daunting. Even if you’re somewhat sure of what you want to study, how do you know for sure? How do you go forward feeling confident and ready to take on new challenges? Many females who are attracted to engineering often relate their interest to early maker projects where they had the chance to take-apart and build new creations, and solve creative problems. Many also find support and guidance along the way from a parent or close family member who also has a vested interest or background in engineering.
However, not everyone has access to these opportunities, so solidifying their decision and confidence to pursue an interest in engineering can be challenging. It’s been noted that girls are often more likely than boys to think that engineering is too difficult, and lack confidence in their ability to succeed and persevere- especially so if that support system is non-existent. This is where events like Go ENG Girl come into play.
The Wonderful World of Engineering
Each year, the University of Waterloo’s Engineering Outreach Department runs an event entitled Go Eng Girl, where over 100 Grade 7-10 girls are engaged in learning all about the wonderful world of engineering and its possibilities. Engineering Outreach’s Women in Engineering branch is lead on the event and passionately believes that every girl should have the opportunity to explore her passion, interest, and options in engineering. Through the event, participants are exposed to a network of peers, families, and role models that help answer questions and demystify concerns and stereotypes.
From keynote speaker Katelyn Poyntz, Manager Project Engineering at St. Michaels Hospital, who shared her journey through the world of engineering, to a panel of current female engineering students, the event provided participants with a network of role models and an opportunity to ask questions and get inspired. The
After the panel, participants were engaged in a design challenge which gave them a small glimpse into what engineering is all about. The girls were split up into small teams where they learned about the engineering design process and worked together to solve a problem. Ultimately, the design challenge was a way to empower these young women to experiment, create, and learn the importance of teamwork, failing and perseverance.
While it’s unrealistic to expect that every girl will become an engineer, it is important to show them possibilities they never imagined and help them build the network and support system needed to pursue their passion and get that iron ring.