HOUSTON – March 1, 2017 – Working to close the gender gap in the engineering field, Spring Independent School District is partnering with ExxonMobil to show girls they have what it takes to pursue a career in engineering. Eighth-grade girls from each of the district’s seven middle schools attended the ExxonMobil Girls Engineering Festival at the Lone Star Convention & Expo Center Tuesday.
“Our Career and Technical Education counselors worked with the CTE teachers at each campus to coordinate this trip,” said Cynthia Williams, Spring ISD CTE director. “The annual event makes our girls aware that engineering is a career pathway they should consider and are encouraged to pursue.”
The approximately 175 students spent several hours learning about engineering during sessions that included a presentation by Texas A&M University, a hands-on project facilitated by ExxonMobil employees and a panel discussion.
Shawna Fletcher, who runs the Women in Engineering Program for Texas A&M University, encouraged the girls to be confident and explore the many options available. “Go out, try different things and find out where you fit,” Fletcher said.
She also emphasized the importance of education. “The job you are going to end up doing probably doesn’t exist yet, so you are going to want to get all the education you can get. Don’t shy away from courses that you are unfamiliar with,” she said.
In the session called Marshmallow Mania, the girls split into teams to tackle a project that required them to exercise their problem-solving skills. Using materials that had been provided, the students were challenged to create a launcher that would deliver a marshmallow to a target area. The activity ended with a friendly competition that allowed the students to test their marshmallow-launching skills.
The event culminated for the Spring ISD students with a session called Exploring Engineering, which offered the opportunity to interview a panel of female ExxonMobil engineers about their experiences in school and beyond.