Many people think of engineering as a male-dominated field, but not anymore! It is all thanks to one local high school that’s trying to change that stereotype. St. Joan Antida’s Second Annual Girl’s Engineering Fair kicked off Wednesday, and there were some big announcements that will help the school achieve its goal.
Using just a folder, a battery and a few wires, 100 middle school girls from across Milwaukee learned the basics of an electric current.
“How you can use a battery to light this light up,” Nelson Avila, a sixth-grader at La Causa School said.
“This is double the number of girls who came last year, so we’re very excited about it,” St. Joan Antida Head of School Cynthia Marino said.
It was the second time St. Joan Antida High School and the Milwaukee School of Engineering have teamed up to host a female engineering fair, in an effort to get girls interested in the STEM fields, or science, technology, engineering and math.
“Women are very under-represented. That is traditionally how it’s been for many years, and so at St. Joan’s, we’re trying really hard to make girls aware of the opportunities,” Marino said.
It seems to be working. “You can get, like, really creative, and you can build something out of simple materials,” Avila said.
At the fair, school officials also announced some exciting news: a major gift they received from a very important corporation, Brady Corporation. The Brady Corporation is awarding St. Joan Antida with a $180,000 grant, which will help expand the school’s engineering program.
“For four years, they’ll have an opportunity to take five different courses in engineering,” Marino said.
All of the engineering courses will be held in three labs, equipped with brand new computers, called the Brady Engineering and Technology Wing. It is a big step towards achieving an even bigger goal: giving girls the power to pursue these careers, well before they reach the college age.
“I want to be a doctor or an engineer,” Avila said.
A tuition scholarship announcement was also made at the fair Wednesday. The Milwaukee School of Engineering announced that any student who graduates from St. Joan Antida and gets accepted into MSOE will be allowed to attend the school at the same tuition rate they paid in high school.
Angelica Duria FOX6
October 19, 2011