The future for young women in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields is looking even brighter as of late. Known for its STEM programming, the highly touted GirlStart organization has been empowering young girls nationwide in the STEM fields of study. Recently, GirlStart sponsored a day-long event in Houston, held September 22, 2018. The purpose of the event was to help introduce and bring awareness to young girls across the Houston area to the various STEM career fields.
The event, held at Taylor High School in Alief, TX, hosted two sessions with 12 fourth grade girls in each session. The girls were placed in groups of 3 to participate in a bridge building exercise. With the use of toothpicks, marshmallows and spaghetti for materials, the goal was to build a structurally sound bridge. After the bridges were constructed by each group, pennies were then used to test the sturdiness of the bridges built. The exercise showcased the ingenuity as well as the high degree of creativity and artistry of the girls in the structure and design of their bridges. This exercise proved to be a catalyst in directing these young women towards a future in STEM-related career fields.
Dr. Gwendolyn Goodwin, Assistant Professor and Interim Director of the Center for Transportation Training and Research (CTTR), also participated in the event, as a member of the Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS) Houston Chapter as well as the CM2 research center. She was joined by 4 other female participants from the WTS organization. “A great time was had by all,” Dr. Goodwin said, “The young girls were excited that they had the chance to explore a STEM field of study as a possible career path. I was so excited to share my experiences with the young ladies as well. I can truly say that I wish they had organizations like GirlStart when I was a young girl.”
The Women in Transportation Seminar activity was deemed a success by all accounts, as the girls were riveted by the subject matter and appreciated the opportunity to participate. With such positive feedback, the event’s organizers are excited about future events.