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­w Researches Ways to Draw Women Toward Science Majors

By Badger Herald

February 27, 2015

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Female leaders at the University of Wisconsin (UW) are looking for ways to address the inequalities that remain for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Organizations such as the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) support undergraduate women in their professional endeavors on campus and after graduation. "I think women are doing a lot better in schools now because we have these organizations, so I think our generation is more inclusive, but I think there are still areas in the workplace that need to be worked on for inclusion," says SWE member Catherine Groh.

Experts say early introduction to STEM fields is important in order to encourage female students to pursue careers in STEM fields in the future.

One of the main pillars of SWE is outreach to girls about a future in engineering. The UW chapter of SWE does outreach for fifth- to seventh-grade girls, and also works with the Girl Scouts, which comes to campus for a themed day focusing on a specific engineering field.

Research shows that even low exposure to computer programming before children reach high school makes them far more likely to sign up for and stay enrolled in a computer science class for the remainder of their academic experience, notes UW researcher Amanda Ochsner.

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