5695 Views (as of 05/2023)
  1. Katie Surra
  2. Instructor
  4. Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
  1. Nanette Marcum-Dietrich
  2. http://www.millersville.edu/edfoundations/faculty/dietrich_n.php
  3. Skilled Women get STEM Jobs
  5. Millersville University
  1. Alexander Surra
  2. Assistant Professor
  4. Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology

Skilled Women Get STEM Jobs

NSF Awards: 1565717

2017 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12, Undergraduate

The Skilled Women Get STEM Jobs program uses partnerships with industry representatives to increase awareness of career opportunities in green collar and technical fields among high school juniors and seniors at selected high schools, and to increase female retention rates among female students currently enrolled in technical programs.

Working off the theory that exposure to STEM careers and role models is key (you have to see it to be it), the Skilled Women Get STEM Jobs program uses female role models from industry, industry tours, and inter-disciplinary hands-on workshops to encouraging young women to pursue these non-traditional career paths.  Female students currently enrolled in the project's eleven partner high schools will be given the opportunity to participate in a one-day industry tour.  Each tour begins with stops at two to three local industries where females working in the industry provide the young women with a tour of their facility and explain their career.  Tour participants then arrive at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology where lunch, guest speakers, and a Campus tour awaits them.  After the tours are completed all students will be given the opportunity to participate in a one day hands-on multidisciplinary workshop at Thaddeus Stevens College.  Thaddeus Stevens instructors, female industry representatives, and currently enrolled female college students will provide instruction.

Industry partners will also be used to implement an informal mentoring program on Campus.  Currently enrolled female students will be offered support of women currently working in industry through the informal, monthly, meetings and events.

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Discussion from the 2017 STEM for All Video Showcase (11 posts)
  • Icon for: Laura Farrelly

    Laura Farrelly

    May 15, 2017 | 08:46 a.m.

    I really like your program Katie - we are working on increased diversity in STEM too and have an app to show kids diverse role models first hand. Would love your opinion on our project - http://stemforall2017.videohall.com/presentatio.... I wonder if you have enough time in yet to see how things have moved toward your goal of 20% enrollment? Also - do you see any trends in what programs/focus areas that females are most interested in? Thanks and keep up the great work!

  • Icon for: Katie Surra

    Katie Surra

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2017 | 10:59 a.m.

    Hi Laura,

    Thanks for reaching out!  Having just started last September we are very early in our project.  Most of the students who joined us on tours were in either 10th or 11th grade, so it will be a while before we see our full impact.  We have had four female students who participated in the tour enroll in programs at the College for next fall, and the feedback from students has been positive.


  • Icon for: Vivian Guilfoy

    Vivian Guilfoy

    Senior Advisor
    May 15, 2017 | 03:36 p.m.

    Having worked to increase female participation in trade and technical careers over the years, I applaud your work.  Do the industry reps keep in contact with the partner schools and students?  It seems that sustained  contact could provide for a stronger pathway to ensure retention of female students.   

  • Icon for: Katie Surra

    Katie Surra

    Lead Presenter
    May 19, 2017 | 12:58 p.m.

    This year we did not encourage continued contact between the high schools and industry partners.  This year that is something I would like to seriously encourage.  I believe that you are correct, and sustained contact could be a benefit.

  • Icon for: Marcelo Worsley

    Marcelo Worsley

    Assistant Professor
    May 15, 2017 | 10:31 p.m.

    I think Vivian's question about on-going communication is spot on in terms of longer term impact. I was also wondering about opportunities for internships, job shadowing, and/or cooperative learning experiences that combine high school credit with some preliminary hands on training. Along these lines, I wonder if the courses that the women choose to enroll in at the high school will change over time, with more of them taking classes that prepare them green collar careers.

  • Icon for: Michael Lach

    Michael Lach

    Director of STEM Policy and Strategic Initiatives
    May 16, 2017 | 10:29 p.m.

    This seems very exciting and important work--congrats. Curious how you interface with the schools. Are all 10th and 11th grade girls involved? Only some? Part of a course int he science department, or somewhere else?

  • Icon for: Katie Surra

    Katie Surra

    Lead Presenter
    May 19, 2017 | 01:00 p.m.

    We originally opened the program to any female junior or senior at our partner schools.  However, since we only have room for 25 on our industry tours we have been forced to limit particpation.  I have found that the best way to get the students who are genuinely interested in the program, and most likely to be successful, is to work directly with the teachers and guidance officials.  They are often able to identify students who would be a good fit, but who may not consider participation in the program without encouragement.

  • Icon for: Lauren Amos

    Lauren Amos

    Associate Director
    May 17, 2017 | 04:48 p.m.

    Establishing and sustaining mentoring programs that are meaningful for both mentors are mentees can be difficult especially when students are assigned to mentors and mentors do not receive training on how to form a strong relationship with mentees. What challenges have you anticipated and what strategies are you considering to address them?

  • Icon for: Katie Surra

    Katie Surra

    Lead Presenter
    May 19, 2017 | 01:04 p.m.

    As of right now we have not worked to ensure the mentors and mentees are developing relationships.  It's more of a one or two time point of contact, and has not been sustained.  If we change this model in the future we would need to revisit the need to provide training to the mentors.

  • Icon for: Sue Bluestein

    Sue Bluestein

    Mathematics Specialist
    May 18, 2017 | 01:53 p.m.

    I work with teachers to engage more students especially females in STEM subjects.  I wonder if this can be brought to elementary and middle school students before they make up their mind that STEM content is not for girls.  Sometimes by high school they have made decisions that make it hard for them to be prepared for these careers when they graduate. 

  • Icon for: Katie Surra

    Katie Surra

    Lead Presenter
    May 19, 2017 | 01:02 p.m.

    I think this could certianly be expanded to the elementary and middle school level.  The key is exposure to industry role models so that young women can see themselves doing these careers.  The earlier we can do this the better!

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.