VHTO - Landelijk expertisebureau meisjes/vrouwen en bčta/techniek


Title: Attracting Girls to Civil Engineering through Hands-on Activities that Reveal the Communal Goals and Values of the Profession.

Authors: Colvin, W., S. Lyden, and B.A. León de la Barra

Published: 2013, Journal of Leadership and Management in Engineering, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 35-41.

In this paper we report on our work to develop hands-on activities for middle school classrooms that clearly reveal how civil engineers
make a substantial societal impact. These activities and their accompanying messaging vividly show how, through their work, teams of civil engineers help people around the world have better quality of life in a sustainable way. All activities are easily reproducible with low-cost materials and represent a number of specialization areas within civil engineering—namely, structural, urban and community planning, and water resources. The messaging that is an integral part of the activities uses the latest available research on why girls are underrepresented in civil engineering in particular, and the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields in general, to highlight the communal goals and values that civil engineers strive for. The results presented in this paper should allow civil engineers to more clearly show how their work enacts communal and altruistic goals that are known to be generally more highly endorsed by women than by men. Preliminary results on the implementation of these strategies in the context of an all-girls middle school show promise in enabling a better connection between the civil engineering profession and female students.