sábado, 6 de octubre de 2012

Women in Engineering

Last Wednesday we started something, we hope, it could be a long term program. We visited a neighbor school. In two shifts the school hosts around 1200 female teens. Almost 600 students for each shift. The name of the school is Escuela España. It is a kind of Middle school. It works as a junior high school.
Several months ago, I proposed to some students at our department to start a program for encouraging women to study electrical engineering. There were several ideas on the table. We discussed whether to focus on girl schools, mixed schools, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, public schools, private schools and so on. I proposed them to focus on female middle schools. Beyond to encourage the study of electrical engineering we want to encourage the study of math and sciences. In my opinion, to do that at high school level will be to late.
We also talked about if this idea could be framed among the IEEE student branch initiatives. We agreed on that. Also, students will fulfill their university mandatory social outreach.

The school principal sent us to talk to senior middle school students. Not all of them will continue studying high school. Probably half of them will continue studying. Perhaps less than a quarter of them will finish high school. For those who are going to continued in high schools they have to make a choice. The salvadoran high schools system has something called bachillerato técnico which gives basic professional  training to students.

So if this female teens are attracted for the study of engineering they could enrolled in high schools that give training in electricity, computer, electronics and so on.

The experience to communicate the electrical engineering field to female teens was new for everybody. But in general everything was ok. Teens were very motivated. Electrical engineering students were open to explain every question that was asked at them. Also teachers asked us to come back next week.

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