A First Step for Women Into the Engineering Pipeline

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Conference Proceeding

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Girls and boys enter school roughly equal in measured ability. They start off alike in mathematics and science performance and interest in school, and appear to do equally well in both subjects in elementary school. As girls progress from middle school into high school and college, they become a steadily decreasing segment of the "scientific and mathematical talent pool". To help counteract the disadvantage girls' experience, NJIT offered the Women In Engineering and Technology-FEMME program in 1981. FEMME provided post ninth grade girls with activities in problem solving skills, science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (SMET), during four-weeks in the summer and academic year workshops. Later research demonstrated that earlier intervention was crucial and girls should receive SMET enrichment and motivation prior to middle school. Therefore, in 1993, FEMME was expanded to include fourth and fifth graders and today NJIT's initiatives are designed to enhance fourth through ninth grade girls' skills.

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