We came across a great interview with Claire Kunkle, graduate student at Santa Clara University and VP of the campus’ Society of Women Engineers. Recently, Claire and her peers gathered dozens of South Bay high school girls for an incredible juxtaposition of technology and philanthropy—the girls engineered real prosthetic hands for amputees around the world. The event was the perfect opportunity to engage girls in a subject they might not normally consider.
When asked about the gender disparity in STEM fields, Claire commented that for many girls, “if you can see it, you can be it.” Essentially, a big part of the problem is that girls don’t have many female engineers to look up to—less than 14% of engineers are women. Claire explains that female engineering teachers may be part of the solution. If girls see a woman they admire in a certain field, they may be more likely to pursue a related subject. It is also vital to engage girls in STEM from a young age, before gender stereotypes seep in.
According to Claire, the girls at the event enjoyed the real-world application of the skills they were building. The idea of engineering something totally cool that genuinely helps others—that’s something to get excited about. To learn more about using tech for good, jump to Alexa Café for girls ages 10–14.
Do you have a daughter who is interested in STEM? What sparked her interest? Tell us in the comments!