First Go ENG Girl event a success, more in the works

STEM IS COOL: DiscoverE works 12 months a year to empower groups of young people to dive headlong into science, technology, engineering and medicine education.

(EDMONTON) The University of Alberta staged its first Go ENG Girl day on Saturday, October 14. It was an opportunity for girls in Grades 7 to 10 (along with one parent) to visit the University of Alberta to learn from women professionals, academics, and students about the world of engineering. Nearly 100 participants came to the ETCL Solarium for the opportunity to learn about the possibilities engineering provides. While Saturday’s event was the first one at the U of A, other Go ENG Girl events have been held at other engineering schools.

“Junior high is when students start to choose the courses that will stream them into their high school courses,” says Illana Crawford, director of DiscoverE, the campus organization that works to raise interest and participation in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and medicine (STEM) to groups of young people across the province. DiscoverE is partnering with many post-secondary schools across Canada to present Go ENG Girl. “We see many girls dissuaded from taking pure or higher level courses,” Crawford says, “or they don't have as many positive role models in engineering encouraging them to pursue a career in STEM fields.”

Ania Ulrich was the keynote speaker at the event. “As associate dean of outreach, Ania spoke to being a woman in engineering, the amazing things you can accomplish,” Crawford says, “and the importance of empowering women in engineering.”

Girls participated in an engineering design-and-build challenge, where they worked together in groups to solve a problem. And there was a panel of current students, young alumni, professors, and professional engineers to field questions from young participants and their parents.

DiscoverE works year round to empower young women and other groups of young people in STEM education through its all-girl programming such as Saturday girl clubs like the Girls Coding Club and the Girls, Engineering, mentorship (GEM) Club, and through all-girl camps and events like Saturday’s Go ENG Girl, which Crawford describes as a resounding success.

If you regret missing Go ENG Girls, visit DiscoverE to check out other opportunities

“And there is also an event in February called Go Code Girl,” Crawford says. Details are still to come, but it will provide an opportunity for girls in Grades 7 to 11 to learn about coding and software development, and to discover opportunities in computing and engineering. Girls will be able to combine technology and craft, learning the skills they need for today’s digital world.