AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) –Junior engineering student Rachel Roberts says she’s pretty surprised that at this point in time women are still far more outnumbered than men in the field. “I’m a little surprised, but yet, I’m still not, just because there’s like a stereotype about women in engineering that hasn’t gone away yet, that girls don’t do engineering or aren’t into math and science,” she said.
UMass Amherst’s Engineering and Computing Career Day conference hopes to help change that.
With high school students also there, mentor Matt Leal says it’s important have math and science appeal to them early on. “They come here and they see the people that work in the field already, and they make it more interesting,” said the Senior Chemical Engineering student.
The number of female engineering students has been on the rise at UMass Amherst. That’s why the keynote speaker says it’s important for females of all backgrounds to get involved. “I think that it’s very important to target specific backgrounds. People who don’t think they can break the cycle. It is possible,” Valerie Gordeski stated.
The next generation certainly thinks so. “I like this college it’s great. I just want to learn about computers, and all the technology,” smiled Abo Moge, Springfield High School Student. “It really does inspire me that we all work together, and we can all help each other reach our goals,” said Jasmine Matos.
For female students just starting out, some words of encouragement. “Just keep working. Work hard, don’t give up. Put in the effort, put in the time,” stated Chibueze Nwokeji, Senior Chemical Engineer.
It’s a little advice that can go a long way.
About 17% of female UMass undergrads are engineering students, 11% are multicultural.