Engineering for girls and women on the web
The School of Engineering has developed a new web site aimed at encouraging girls and women to learn more about engineering. Packed with everything from games for children to teaching aids for faculty, the site is the first such resource on the Internet, putting information about educational and career opportunities as well as programs in engineering for girls and women in one location.
Tufts created the Women in Engineering Website, http://www.wieo.org, with a grant from the GE Fund, the philanthropic arm of the General Electric Co. Joining Tufts in producing the site are the Society of Women Engineers and the Women in Engineering Programs and Advocates Network.
Children can meet Josie True and her iCat and help them search for Ms. Trombone, the missing science teacher who is also an inventor. Josie loves to dance and talk on the phone, and she also enjoys building robots out of LEGOS and plans to become a chemist. Parents can find out about programs in their areas, while guidance counselors can learn what scholarships are available for their students. College and university faculty can do research on funding opportunities, browse in the reading room for books and articles on gender issues and career guidance or join a discussion board.
"This web site is a national resource to provide the right information to the right people, so we have a wide audience with everyone from kids to faculty to program directors," said Peter Wong, associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of special initiatives at the engineering school. "We try to provide them with information and with many different perspectives from different places. It is inclusive of all women in engineering programs that we can find. The importance of the site is its ability to be an active repository of information about engineering to introduce girls to the field at an earlier age and to encourage women to consider engineering as a career."
Tufts has long been dedicated to encouraging women and girls to enter engineering. About 32 percent of the student body in the School of Engineering is female, approximately twice the national average, while 16 percent of the faculty is female, about four times the national average. Among Tufts' programs aimed at girls is a month-long program for high school students to encourage them to learn about engineering and an outreach program for middle school girls.