Berkeley Girls in Engineering

Background

At Berkeley Engineering we espouse the goal of closing the gender gap in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. In the College of Engineering 24% of our engineering undergraduates are women--better than the national average. Encouraging diversity among students and faculty in engineering is a top strategic priority. Girls in Engineering is a program designed to grow the next generation of engineering leaders through an experience built on hallmarks of Berkeley Engineering: hands-on, team-based learning; an emphasis on leadership; and engineering in a societal context.

Berkeley Girls in Engineering instructor helping campers
Berkeley Girls in Engineering participants performing experiments

Goals and Objectives

In partnership with our sponsors, Berkeley Engineering has designed the Girls in Engineering program to give middle school girls the opportunity to experience hands-on engineering activities on the Berkeley campus. Taught by Berkeley female faculty, staff, and students, the program promotes leadership skills and inspires confidence in the participants to pursue STEM fields. It also provides girls an opportunity to learn firsthand about the exciting world of engineering!

Girls in Engineering Program Structure

Berkeley's Girls in Engineering program provides participants with experiences in three areas:

  1. Engineering Leadership via Communication and Team Skills

    To excel in engineering, excellent communication skills are needed in tandem with technical skills. The first part of each day will be dedicated to learning about leadership and team communication. In these modules girls will learn more about who they are as individuals, how to maximize their particular learning style, and strategies for working effectively in groups with diverse modes of learning. Building on what they learn in the beginning of the program, girls will be taught skills to communicate effectively in a group setting. Their experience will culminate in an audience-focused team presentation.

  2. Design Innovation via Hands-on Learning

    Experiential education and team projects are at the heart of Berkeley Engineering. Working in groups on design projects teaches students to communicate effectively, to work together to solve problems, and to successfully negotiate differences. Each project in the design innovation portion of the program combines several analytical skills to successfully create a working prototype. This method reinforces the group communication lessons from earlier in the day, while allowing girls to explore the similarities and differences between disciplines by providing an overview of different types of engineering paths of study.

  3. Learning in Context via Tours and Lab Demonstrations

    Each day includes tours and laboratory demonstrations. These daily capstone sessions tie in the morning lessons and give girls a peek into how the technology about which they are learning is being applied by Berkeley researchers to solve real-world problems.