WHAT: The FEMME program (Women in Engineering and Technology Initiative) helps girls overcome the gender gap in math, science and engineering. Elementary school girls perform as well as boys in math and science, yet fall behind them during middle school and high school. To redress that imbalance, 120 girls – fourth through eighth graders – will come to New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) campus to study aeronautical, biomedical and mechanical engineering.
WHEN: Classes begin Monday, July 7, and end August 7. They meet Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: New Jersey Institute of Technology campus, Newark, N.J.
HOW: Beginning July 14, reporters and photographers are invited to come to NJIT to observe classes and talk to the girls, and their teachers, about the relation between gender and academics. Each week students will work on interesting projects such as rocket launches, boat building and chocolate chemistry.
WHY: FEMME challenges the premise that boys are better in math and science than girls, who are underrepresented in engineering – 90 percent of engineers are men. Studies also show an achievement gap separates students in affluent communities from those in low-income communities. Most of the girls in Femme are black and Hispanic and live in low-income cities and suburbs across the region.
Editor’s Note: The girls attending FEMME live in the following towns or cities: Chester, East Orange, Elizabeth, Green Brook, Guttenberg, Harrison, Hillside, Irvington, Maplewood, Montville, Newark, North Bergen, Nutley, Orange, Paterson, Piscataway, Plainfield, Rahway, Ridgefield Park, Roselle, Schnecksville, Somerset, South Orange, Teaneck, Union, Union City, Vauxhall, Wayne, West Orange.