Inspiring IDeAs for girls is what each of our presentations is all about. IDeAs are the heart and soul of our presentations, and with good reason. We provide the:
- Information to girls about engineering, because many don't know what engineering really is.
- Demonstration of what real engineers can do every day by telling the girls about what we have done.
- Activation girls need to get a hands-on feel for what engineering really is by creating fun and creative activities for them to participate in.
In the spring of 1998, Microsoft challenged the MIT Chapter of HKN to propose methods of addressing the lack of women enrollment in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) studies and industry. A committee of four HKN students investigated the issues and proposed two programs, one of which called for presentations at high schools across the country, and came to be known as the Women's Initiative. Women's Initiative was proposed to address the problem of low enrollment in EECS by women early their career decision making process -- when high school women are exploring potential majors and careers as they decide which universities to attend.
In 2001-2002, the program's focus expanded from educating students about Computer Science and Electrical Engineering to encompassing the entire field of engineering. Presenters were chosen from several different engineering disciplines and were able to share their experiences with students from their various perspectives. This enabled presenters to identify with the interests of more high school students. Since 2001, presenters have come from mechanical engineering, materials science, EECS, chemical engineering, nuclear engineering, and biomedical engineering.
Today, Women's Initiative has expanded even further. The program reaches approximately 6,000 middle school and high school girls in just four weeks. We have visited nearly every state in the country, and continue to send presenters to new school districts to reach more girls. It has been our honor to be in contact with so many girls, and to see the enthusiasm of the school teachers and administrators involved with the program. Just as we hope to inspire girls with our presentations, so too have we been inspired. For this, we thank you.