What: Grade-school girls will launch rockets, design roller coasters and analyze chocolate at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), which offers six summer workshops in engineering. The FEMME program helps girls overcome the gender gap in math, science and engineering. Girls perform as well as boys in math and science in the early grades, yet tend to fall behind boys during middle and high school. To redress that problem, more than 150 girls – fourth through eighth graders – are now in the workshops learning the fundamentals of aeronautical, biomedical and mechanical engineering.
When: Classes began July 5 and end Aug. 4, 2005. They meet Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: New Jersey Institute of Technology campus, Newark, N.J.
Why: FEMME challenges the premise that boys are better in math and science than girls, who are underrepresented in engineering: some 80 percent of engineers are men. Studies also show an achievement gap separates students in affluent communities from those in poor communities. Most of the girls in FEMME are black and Hispanic and live in cities and suburbs across the region. Most of the FEMME teachers are women.
How: Beginning July 20, reporters and photographers are invited to come to NJIT to observe classes and talk to the girls, and their teachers, about the relationship between gender and academics. Each week students will work on interesting projects such as rocket launches, boat building and chocolate chemistry. Call Robert Florida at (973) 596-5203 if interested in attending the workshops.
Editor’s Note: The girls attending FEMME live in the following towns or cities: Bound Brook, Carteret, Chester, Clifton, East Brunswick, East Orange, Edison, Emerson, Guttenberg, Harrison, Hillsborough, Hillside, Irvington, Jersey City, Kearny, Linden, Livingston, Maplewood, Montclair, Montville, Morristown, Newark, North Bergen, Nutley, Orange, Paterson, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, Plainfield, Rahway, Ridgefield, Rutherford, Somerset, Somerville, South Orange, South River, Teaneck, Union City, Verona and West Orange.