To conclude Women’s History Month, we turn our focus to a student group that has been gaining steady traction. SUNY New Paltz is home to the Women in Science and Engineering group or WISE for short. The group was featured in HV MFG’s Spring 2017 edition and consists of 95 women within the Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. Together, they focus on creating a vast network for career building while also sharing their passions within the academic disciplines.
One of the flagship events the groups holds is the WISE Summer Engineering Camp, which is targeted to students in grades 9-12. The purpose of the camp, is to introduce girls into the field of engineering which is known for being prevalently male. The program was developed by Assistant Professor, Dr. Reena Dahle from SUNY New Paltz in conjunction with group members who wanted to give high school students the chance to gain new skills through state-of-the-art engineering applications. Programs such as these, are encouraging students to follow their passions of engineering and math. Statistics have shown that gender plays a key role in why women either avoid or leave the engineering field. Some find it challenging to succeed when they feel outnumbered and underrepresented in the sector. To help combat this, clubs such as WISE create a sense of unity which motivates students to continue studying subjects like mathematics and sciences.
The WISE Summer Engineering Camp also ties in art and creativity which is crucial within the field. Innovation only happens when someone has the ability to critically think in a new perspective. 3D printing technology is helping to achieve this by having camp participants design various structures and program the dimensions for the printer to make. This gives more of a hands-on approach; showing how engineering can be both fun and practical. In addition to expressing creativity in the labs, companies such as Global Foundries give these students a chance to tour their facilities and explain the real-life implications of engineering.
The Engineering field is growing rapidly as more jobs within different sectors begin to open. SUNY New Paltz among other institutions are aware of this trend and have taken steps to ensure today’s students are ready for tomorrow’s jobs. Just recently, the Mechanical Engineering Program at New Paltz earned full accreditation. The Women in Science and Engineering Group is playing a crucial role to make sure all students have equal opportunities in pursuing the careers they love regardless of gender. While change does not happen overnight, the 95 women within this group show the promising future that lies ahead.
The full article in HV MFG’s Spring 2017 article can be viewed here.