Women in Materials Science Engages Young Students to Shrink Gender Diversity Gap in Engineering

College Station, TX, April 02, 2016 --(PR.com)-- Research shows that America desperately needs professionals specializing in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to expand and advance its economy and society. Currently less than 15 percent of engineers are women. To reverse this statistic, maintaining enthusiasm in science, technology, engineering and mathematics among students throughout high school and college is not only important, but also necessary.

Women in Materials Sciences (WIMS), a student organization led by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, believes in changing existing cultural perceptions about women’s roles in STEM fields.

Last month WIMS met with middle school students from the Girl Scouts of Central Texas at the 2016 STEMFest that was organized by the Dwight Look College of Engineering’s Women in Engineering office. The purpose of the event was to encourage the students to pursue careers in science and engineering. WIMS members developed several activities to make science fun. They engaged students with experiments that included simple polymer technology demonstrations such as hydrogel to create the effect of snow in addition to demonstrations with shape memory alloys.

The same week a group of 15 students from Liberty Christian High School in Argyle, Texas, visited with WIMS’ members on the Texas A&M campus for laboratory tours and demonstrations. WIMS members prepared short presentations and hands-on experiments and, more importantly, shared their personal stories and experiences with the visiting students.

During the 2016 National Engineer’s Week, WIMS collaborated with the Women in Engineering office to promote engineering to second through fifth graders at DiscoverE Girl Day.

“We believe that these repeated activities will help trigger interests in science and engineering at an important age when they still have ample opportunities to advance academically in order to be able to pursue careers in science and technology,” said Victoria Albright, vice president of WIMS and a doctoral student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

“Materials Science and Engineering offers vast opportunities for women,” said Dr. Svetlana Sukhishvili, professor in the materials science and engineering department. “Our organization aims to bring more diversity and inclusion to the field by enhancing historically under-represented populations in our engineering community.”

Sukhishvili, who serves as a faculty advisor to WIMS, is seeking speakers to discuss topics related to succeeding as a woman in engineering.

Launched in the fall of 2015, WIMS has plans to start several outreach activities to promote the STEM field at schools in Bryan and College Station, Texas.

To learn more about WIMS, visit the organization’s website.
Texas A&M Materials Science
Shraddha Sankhe