The 2018 Girls in Science and Engineering Day (GSED) event took place at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) campus on May 19, 2018. More than 110 6th to 8th grade girls from 15 different schools in the Birmingham, AL, region attended the event. Students participated in three STEM workshops led by UAB faculty and students. Over 45 UAB undergraduates, graduate students and faculty volunteered for the event and used this as an opportunity to showcase their passion for STEM fields, while at the same time encouraging young girls to consider careers in science and engineering.
The UAB GSED program aims at introducing young female middle school students to the wonderful world of engineering and sciences through hands-on activities and interactions with successful women in STEM. Engineering-related workshops at this year’s event focused on Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Material Science and Engineering activities. Other workshops offered during the event included rehabilitation robotics, virtual simulation in medicine and forensics. Girls also participated in a fun scavenger hunt, which challenged their creativity as they moved between workshops. Dr. Suzanne Lapi, Director of the UAB Cyclotron Facility, gave the keynote address during lunch. She discussed her journey in STEM and answered questions from the participants.
Students were engaged throughout the day and provided very positive feedback about the event and their experience in the program. Analysis of surveys completed by participants confirm that the program was successful in raising the visibility of UAB STEM programs and making a difference in middle school girls’ perceptions about STEM careers. At the conclusion of the event, over 88% of 2018 Girls in Science and Engineering day participants said that they want to pursue a career in STEM and 100% reported that they learned a new scientific concept at the 2018 GSED event.
The event was co-sponsored by STRIDE and UAB, and Dr. Virginia Sisiopiku served as the event director.