Michigan tech welcomed 175 middle and high school students this week for its summer youth programs. These programs give students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in engineering studies. One program in particular aims to give young women a chance to explore the field of automotive engineering.
“The Women in Automotive Engineering program is actually a competitive scholarship sponsored by Dana Incorporated, so they funded all the girls who were accepted into the program. They were given $1000 tuition to stay for the whole week,” said Amanda Jackson, associate director of Michigan Tech’s Center for Pre-College Outreach.
The program gave the girls the chance to gain deeper insight into a career in automotive engineering, a field that has historically been dominated by men.
“The automotive industry hasn’t had a lot of female representation. Companies like to have diversity in their teams, so you see companies stepping up and wanting to help young girls get interested in this type of career, or at least know it’s an option for them,” Jackson added.
Students spent the week gaining work experience in the field, which will help them choose a career path.
“They probably wouldn’t have found out that they would have liked this stuff if they hadn’t gone to camp, and even if they don’t like automobiles, maybe they go to a aerospace camp and discover that they live in aerospace. Without experiencing it and getting your hands dirty, you won’t be able to figure out if you like it or not,” said Gracie Noller, an undergraduate student. high school student who participated in the program.
Programs like these allow young students to diversify and explore their future opportunities.
“Go out there and give it a try, I guess. You never know what you like until you try it,” Noller added.