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UC's Women in Engineering Camp Accepting Applications


High-school girls interested in engineering, math and science can spend a week this summer with faculty members and engineers, touring real labs on and off UC’s campus.

Date: 6/27/2008 12:00:00 AM
By: Wendy Beckman and Mary Williams, GearUp Student
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Other Contact: Kathleen Johnson
Other Contact Phone: (513) 556-0025

UC ingot  
WIE participants in 2006 made lip gloss in one hands-on activity.
WIE participants in 2006 made lip gloss in one hands-on activity. (Photo by Katie Hageman)

The hands-on camp, which runs July 28 to Aug. 1, 2008, allows young women in grades 9 through 12 to explore careers in engineering as they work with University of Cincinnati faculty.

Kathy Johnson, director of undergraduate student enrollment in the College of Engineering at UC, says that the camp helps motivate high school students.

“It’s a chance for students to come see if they are interested in math, science and engineering,” she says. “Through the camp, the girls get a great overview of what’s available. They get to meet our faculty members and receive information on all the disciplines offered here at UC.”

The 2007 camp participants included 10 high-school seniors; five applied to UC, of which three have confirmed to attend in fall 2008. One participant from the 2007 camp, Emma Dorgan, won the Dow Chemical Scholarship, which was presented at the Society of Women Engineers banquet at UC.

In 2007 the participants took a field trip to the Ascent construction site in Kentucky.
In 2007 the participants took a field trip to the Ascent construction site in Kentucky. (Photo by Dottie Stover)

In her winning essay, Emma wrote, “…thank you for helping me make my choice in what field and what university I wanted to go to. If I had not gone to the Women of Engineering day camp last summer, I would not have found out about what engineering was all about and what actual engineers do. Also if I had not seen NanoWorld and the robotics lab I would have never realized just how passionate I was about nanotechnology and robotics and what UC could offer me if I went to the College of Engineering.”

Each year at the camp, in addition to hearing an overview of the disciplines from the engineering faculty, the “Engineering Ambassadors” — UC student volunteers — also talk with the camp participants about what it’s really like to be in college majoring in engineering.

“They’re very direct,” says Johnson. “I think it helps to hear what students have done who are a just few years older than they are.”

Afternoon tours are taken to various corporate engineering plants such as GE Aviation, Procter & Gamble (Babycare Division) and Xetron Corporation (a wholly owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corporation), to meet engineers and see what they do. The experience offers a look at the many types of engineering that people can major in at UC and pursue as careers.

"Northrop Grumman Xetron enjoys hosting the University of Cincinnati's Women in Engineering Summer Program," says Jane Diles, Human Resources Manager for Northrop Grumman Xetron. "We hope that providing the opportunity to view product demonstrations and participating in panel discussions with female engineers will have an impact on their career decisions to enter the arena of engineering."

GE Aviation's Women in Technology forum has been sponsoring an afternoon with the UC's Women in Engineering camp every year since 2004,” says Theresa Zeug, systems engineer with GE Aviation. “Our vision is to foster the development, retention and promotion of women in technology and engineering. Our typical agenda is a ‘Welcome Lunch’ with our Vice President of Engineering Jeanne Rosario and ‘A Day in the Life Cycle of Jet Engine Design’ where we demonstrate the different challenges for engineers and their products — whether the engine is still on the drawing board or flying families to vacation spots.”

GE has long been a supporter of women in engineering at UC. The late Brian Rowe, chairman emeritus of GE, was a generous supporter of UC’s College of Engineering.

“GE is proud to be named in the Top 50 Employers in 2008 for Women Engineers and the GE Aviation's Women in Technology team was recognized as the most active hub in the corporation,” Zeug adds. “This year's camp will include a panel of early career women engineers talking about their transition from academia to industry.”

Impromptu designs take shape in the hands of future engineers.
Impromptu designs take shape in the hands of future engineers. (Photo by Katie Hageman)

Johnson says that the camp provides girls from different high schools an opportunity to meet girls who are interested in the same things. Students come mostly from high schools in the Tristate area, but some daughters of alumni come from farther away and stay with their grandparents to attend the camp. One participant this year is even coming from Tennessee.

Kathy Johnson says that right now the three most popular majors for women engineering undergraduates at UC are biomedical, chemical and civil. Historically, chemical engineering has always been a popular field for many female students as it was one of the first engineering disciplines open to women.

“Engineering teaches us why things work, how they work and how to apply that knowledge,” Johnson notes. “These three fields in particular are about improving people’s lives, and my instinct tells me that that’s why women are particularly drawn to them.”

Determination takes flight in the hands-on aerospace activity in 2007.(Photo by Dottie Stover)
Determination takes flight in the hands-on aerospace activity in 2007.(Photo by Dottie Stover)

Applicants to the camp must be young women entering the 9th through 12th grades in fall 2008. They should have a demonstrated interest in engineering, mathematics or science. Student participants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Of the 35 slots, 26 are currently filled. The camp will be offered from July 28 to Aug. 1, 2008. Cost is $200 but if a camp participant successfully enrolls at UC, this cost is applied to her first-year tuition.

Online application link

Application deadline: July 21, 2008, or until all 35 slots are full!