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167459-1 Report Abstract

Go Girl! Facilitating Exploration of Transportation Careers for Girls

Debbie Jasek and Melisa Finley, Texas A&M University, July 2007, 37 pp. (167459-1)

The transportation engineering profession, like every other profession that relies heavily on the engineering, technology and science fields, faces a challenging future.  A recent study by the National Science Board reported a troubling decline in the number of U.S. citizens that are training to become scientists and engineers.  Even more disturbing is the number of females entering engineering and technology fields. Only 9 percent of American engineers are women and only 18 percent of engineering degrees are earned by women. Unless transportation as a profession becomes more focused on encouraging women to study engineering and technology the projected shortages become even more alarming.  In short, the current and future success of the transportation infrastructure and its diverse array of components depend on developing a large cadre of individuals, both male and female, to design, plan, manage, operate, and maintain the vast infrastructure in place.

This study developed a series of one-day conferences and/or events specifically for girls.  These events offered an opportunity to gain hands on experience and insight into what transportation, engineering, and technology careers have to offer. The events provided girls with experiences to encourage interests in science and math, as well as offering exposure and mentoring from female role models that currently work in transportation and engineering fields. By providing a venue that allowed girls to recognize their interests in math and have an early successful experience, two of the crucial factors to encourage careers in technology and engineering are fulfilled. These events were designed in a format that it can be used by any college, university or professional organization as a prototype.

Keywords: Women in Transportation, Women in Engineering, STEM, Transportation Outreach Programs

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 1.8 MB)