April 4 Event Girls to Explore Science/Engineering Careers

The challenge to attract more women into science and engineering careers lies at the heart of a special one-day workshop, Multiply Your Options (MYO), scheduled for Friday, April 4th at the UConn campus. Now in its 14th year, MYO will energize the campus with a combination of bubbly enthusiasm and serious inquiry as over 200 female eighth-graders from middle schools across Connecticut spend the day engaging in hands-on, problem solving workshops presented by practicing women scientists and engineers, many of whom are UConn alumnae and graduate students.

National Science Foundation statistics indicate that while women are joining the nation’s workforce in increasing numbers, they constitute just 27 percent of the science and engineering workforce at large. Finding ways to excite their interest in careers involving science and engineering is the goal of MYO.

Across a dozen rooms within the Student Union, groups of young women will engage in constructing rudimentary motors from magnets, wire and batteries; designing and assembling prototype sails to test on a raised track with fan-generated wind; electrolyzing water into its constituent hydrogen and oxygen molecules using saltwater, pencils and a 9V battery – and other activities geared to introduce engineering and science concepts in a deceptively fun manner.

MYO is an outreach initiative of the Engineering Diversity Program overseen by director Kevin McLaughlin. Commenting on the impact of MYO, Mr. McLaughlin said “As the nation’s competitiveness in math, science and engineering has decreased in recent years, programs such as MYO offer young women successful role models for pursuing their education in these very subject areas.”

Published: Apr 03, 2008