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A program to get More African American Girls Interested in Engineering is Headed to Mississippi

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 20 Mar 2013 05:33pm | comments
An engineering program coming to Jackson this summer hopes to get hundreds of African American girls in Mississippi thinking about going into the field that has long been dominated by men.

According to the  U.S. Department of Commerce only 1 in 7 engineers is female. Even fewer are women of color.  But an engineering program coming to Jackson this summer hopes to get hundreds of African American girls in Mississippi thinking about going into the field that has long been dominated by men. 

As women continue to make strides in fields like law and medicine that's not the case when it comes to engineering. Many experts believe the problem begins as early as grade school because girls, especially African Americans  are rarely encouraged to pursue careers in engineering. This summer the National Society of Black Engineers will launch an all girls hands on engineering program called Summer Engineering Experience for Kids also known as SEEK.  

"We're about to have the  largest engineering camp in the history of America for African American girls."

Carl Mack executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers says the program which is open to Mississippi girls in grades 3 through 5 is already garnering national attention.

Everywhere that I have gone and I've talked about the all girl SEEK camp in Jackson deans from engineering schools all across the country, university officials, nobody has ever heard of an engineering camp with 300 African American girls being taught engineering."

The activities are being led by  engineering students like Sade Ruffin, a PHD candidate in the field of chemical engineering at New York University.  Ruffin admits that she was somewhat hesitant to serve as a mentor for kids in such a young age group.  

"So I was like I don't know how this is gonna be received. But I mean it’s amazing you see these students and they're learning physics concepts, chemistry concepts but not only are they learning but they're excited and they're proud to be learning. And so for me that's really the exciting part about it that we can get these kids proud of learning to be engineers."

The SEEK program will be held June 24th through July 12th at New Hope Church in Jackson. 

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An engineering program coming to Jackson this summer hopes to get hundreds of African American girls in Mississippi thinking about going into the field that has long been dominated by men.


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