Nearly 175 girls from six area middle and elementary schools visited St. Joan Antida High School on Oct. 20 to attend the school’s 11th Annual Girls in Engineering Fair. The annual event is designed to showcase various careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields and to demonstrate the skills involved in STEM-related jobs.
Girls participated in hands-on projects such as boat-building that involved teams of girls designing and building small boats using various objects. St. Joan Antida’s 40 STEMbassadors (girls who have completed the Principles of Engineering class) led the teams through the project, which culminated in a contest to see whose boat could float the longest. In addition, the STEMbassadors led the girls through a project where they designed structures using cardstock.
Biotechnology Engineer Jen Taylor spoke to the girls about her experience working at GE Healthcare as a lead MR Systems Tools Engineer. She explained the difference between studying engineering in high school and college and applying it on the job. She encouraged the girls to keep asking questions and stay curious.
STEM-related jobs are challenging, well paying and filled most of the time by men. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up 47 percent of the total U.S. workforce, but are much less represented in science and engineering occupations. According to the bureau, they comprise 39 percent of chemists and material scientists, 28 percent of environmental scientists and geoscientists, 16 percent of chemical engineers and 12 percent of civil engineers.
St. Joan Antida High School, an International Baccalaureate World School, is focused on addressing this disparity by preparing young women with the math and science skills necessary for success in the engineering fields. To this end, in addition to hosting the annual Girls in Engineering Fair, St. Joan offers Milwaukee’s only bridge-to-college engineering program for young women through partnerships with the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) and Project Lead the Way (PLTW).
Schools participating in the Girls in Engineering Fair at St. Joan Antida High School included: Milwaukee College Prep, Milwaukee Academy of Science, St. Marcus Lutheran School, St. Raphael the Archangel School, Woodlands School and Catholic East Elementary School.
St. Joan Antida High School will be hosting an open house Thursday, Oct. 27 from 6-8:30 p.m. In addition to a tour of the school, learning sessions will be held at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Visit http://www.saintjoanantida.org/admissions/open-house to learn more and to RSVP.