$20 = teaching 1 girl about Engineering
[UPDATE] NEW STRETCH GOAL: $5,000 to teach 250 girls!
The idea is simple: teach young girls how to impact the world through STEM fields by actually letting them do it. Girls Engineering Change seeks to close the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by encouraging girls through the construction of engineered products and connecting them to a network of college mentors who help them throughout their education. Our curriculum enables middle and high school girls to build a tangible product to be used in developing world nations. Our theory of change resides in tackling the two main problems which prevent girls from studying engineering in the first place: lack of understanding and lack of encouragement. Our method attempts to tackle both of these issues and inspire students to challenge these conceptions.
Currently, GEC has reached almost 500 girls at 6 universities and is expanding annually. These young girls partner with university students who take them through a one day session of their choice to expose them into engineering fundamentals. First, a presentation exposes girls of the various types of engineering, what their professions entail, and exposes them to how they can solve major global issues through engineering including global health, clean water, or green energy. Then, they are paired with a college mentor who helps them construct different devices. The presenters explain where their product will go and how it will be used to help someone somewhere in the world.
Currently, girls are able to construct a solar powered USB charger which is donated to the Red Cross for use in disaster relief settings and ECG Simulators which are donated to Engineering World Health. We are adding two more projects to our curriculum, a calculator and a carbon monoxide detector. Girls are encouraged to explore multiple sessions to gain exposure to more mentors and more issues they can address. Mostly, our sessions seek to show girls that they, with just a little guidance, can create a product that will help change the world. With some encouragement and smiles along the way, Girls Engineering Change closes the stigmas and barriers that prevent girls from engaging in STEM fields when they reach college.
Risks and challenges
We at GEC have already introduced multiple successful projects, and so have begun creating a curriculum of projects for the use by university chapters starting up all over the country. The designs for these two builds are nearly complete, and functioning prototypes have already been built by our head engineers.
With that being said, we have also had difficulty with one project in particular, the electrosurgical unit tester. After creating these devices during sessions, it was found that the majority of them did not end up functioning correctly. With new and more promising projects being developed, this project is now being advised against. Just because our engineers can perform the build doesn't mean that it will adapt well into an environment where most girls are soldering for the first time, and we are often under a time constraint, which often leads to a less than perfect connections. This is why we need to test out each project curriculum with mentors and students during a few local build events before we begin to release it.
One of the major things that sets Girls Engineering Change apart from other STEM education programs is that our projects aim to change our world, and they need to be donated to others in order to have this impact. Currently, we have already spoken to some local fire departments who will take and make use of our carbon monoxide detectors. However, we have not yet secured an acceptor for our calculator donations. We would like to donate them to a resource-poor learning institution, and we do not foresee issues with determining this destination at the time, but this could prove difficult to find.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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