NDSU Getting More Young Girls Involved in STEM Activities

Girls in kindergarten through second grade made parachutes, safe houses and flashlights

FARGO, N.D. —┬áNDSU engineers are trying to get more girls interested in the industry at a young age.

About 12 percent of women are in engineering careers according to Bureau of Labor statistics, but just 11 percent of NDSU’s female students pursue engineering degrees.

“In my classes, there will be like two girls and then you really bond with those girls because you’re surrounded by males,” said Emma Anderson with NDSU’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

NDSU’s SWE wants to change this by exposing kindergartners through second graders to STEM activities.

“I like when I built the helicopter,” said Haydyn Braat.

Area mothers and daughters learned how to build parachutes, flashlights and safe houses along with mechanical, industrial and electrical engineering.

“Anytime I can encourage my daughter to go out and do something that maybe is against the norm, that’s something that we definitely encourage in our house,” software engineer Kim Haisley said.

It also was a way for mothers to connect with their daughters in a different way.

“It’s something that I can do with her,” said Melanie┬áNordhougen, who works in construction. “Showing her some of the knowledge I use in my daily life as well as exposing her to the engineering careers that are out there for her.”

Nordhougen says STEM careers need more women involved because they can offer a different perspective.

“The female mind is going to be a little more apt to get to know you, try to become friends before diving into the details,” Nordhougen said. “But then also with that stem background, they’ve got a lot of the math and science reasoning in their mindset as well.”

Some say exposing girls to STEM activities at a young age is part of the solution.

It’s why Haisley reminds young girls to reach for the stars.

“It’s not something that we can’t grasp so go for what you’re good at and keep learning something new,” Haisley said.

NDSU also led a panel to give the girls college advice.

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