College Teams Tackle the Why So Few? QuestionDecember 17, 2010
This past spring, AAUW asked in a nationally recognized research report why women are still so underrepresented in science and math fields. Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics found that environmental and social barriers — including stereotypes, gender bias, and the climate of science and engineering departments in colleges and universities — continue to block women’s participation and progress in STEM fields. The report also offered new ideas for what readers can do to more fully open scientific and engineering fields to girls and women.
Through the AAUW Campus Action Project (CAP) grant, this spring semester 11 teams of students and faculty across the country will build on these ideas and implement projects to increase the number of women entering and staying in STEM fields. CAP grants provide up to $5,000 in funding for each of the 11 CAP teams, and the teams will have an opportunity to attend and present on their projects at the 2011 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in June.
This year’s CAP teams will be planning and carrying out projects to help overcome existing barriers for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These are just a few of the inspiring projects CAP teams will take on this spring.
- Workshops for local high school counselors and teachers will explore the obstacles to attracting and retaining women in STEM education and careers. The workshops will also discuss how to encourage female high school students and nontraditional students to pursue STEM careers such as engineering.
- The Connecting Women in Construction outreach program will respond to the severe underrepresentation and low retention rates of women in building construction and construction engineering major programs.
- The STEM Careers for Planet Earth conference will educate 150 high school girls and college women about overcoming barriers and selecting courses and majors that lead to STEM careers, which pay well and can contribute to solving major challenges in the world.
- One project will set up mentoring relationships between STEM professionals and college students and will also connect college women with middle school girls.
- Women college students and faculty mentors will plan and host a science demonstration at a nearby middle school and conduct a series of round-table discussions about women in science and engineering.
Visit the AAUW website to find a list of selected teams and their project descriptions. Be sure to visit the CAP webpage throughout the spring to track each team’s progress and in June to read about their project outcomes.