Empower UIowa WiSE Femineers™
The process to bring Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Femineers™ to the University of Iowa began just over a year ago. An Iowa high school Project Lead The Way (PLTW) teacher approached WiSE Co-Director, Chelle Lehman, at a national conference. He had just attended a session on Femineers™ facilitated by California Polytechnic University at Pomona. He asked if she could help bring this program to the state of Iowa. He explained that it was desperately needed in our state and the number of women participants in his high school PLTW Computer Science classes reflected this need. He reported that he had 71 students enrolled in his Computer Science classes and of that 71 only 13 were women. These numbers were also reflected at the University of Iowa. Thirteen of of the 88 Computer Science graduates in 2016-2017 were women. The curent fall 2017 enrollment also reflects this imbalance with 12% women of all declared Computer Science majors and 14% women of all declared Computer Science and Engineering majors. Motivated by the underrepresentation of women in computer science and computer/electrical engineering, Chelle followed up with Cal Poly Pomona and went there to train for their first module, Creative Robotics, in October 2016. Later that same year the University of Iowa WiSE Program became the first University Affiliate of Femineers™ outside of the state of California.
UIowa WiSE Femineers™ is an alternative entry point to Computer Science and Computer/Electrical Engineering. The program was created at Cal Poly Pomona to specifically engage young women in technology fields. It utilizes a Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, and Math (STEAM) approach to learning. Cal Poly Pomona also instills their Learn by Doing motto into the curriculum. Young women are not only learning about electronics, coding, and hardware, but they are doing it within the framework of creating a movable piece of art. Traditional robotics programs may be intimidating and unfamiliar to young women. This program breaks down gender stereotypes for careers in technology. WiSE Femineers™ uses art, which is familiar to all students, to create the scaffolding to introduce young women to a bright future in computer science, engineering, and electronics. It is the goal of the UIowa WiSE Femineer™ Program to provide early exposure to careers in technology to young women across the state. For this program, teachers will come to campus and Chelle Lehman, Co-Director of WiSE, will train them to take the program back to their local schools with the mission to engage 7th-12th grade females in STEM fields. This program needs 15 Hummingbird Duo Premium Kits (micro-controllers) for teacher training. Just add craft supplies and each kit has everything needed to build a robot, and costs $269. After the training sessions, one kit will be sent back to the school district with the trained teacher.
(Please note that your gift will be made to the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Fund and then directed to support this initiative.)
NOTICE: The State University of Iowa Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization soliciting tax-deductible private contributions for the benefit of the University of Iowa. Please visit the UI Foundation disclosures site for additional information.