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Texas A&M-Kingsville celebrates Engineers Week with Girls Day event

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More than 100 girls from local middle and high schools visited Texas A&M University-Kingsville on Thursday, Feb. 24 to learn more about engineering from a woman’s perspective.

 

The “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” or “Girl Day,” is a worldwide initiative to engage girls in engineering. The event is part of the university’s celebration of Engineers Week.

 

Participating schools included Tuloso-Midway Middle School, Odem Junior High, A.C. Blunt Middle School, Santa Gertrudis Academy High School, London High School, Tuloso-Midway High School and Kaufer-Riviera ECHS.

 

Presentations were made by the Society for Women Engineers (SWE), the Association for Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers & Mexican-American Engineers and Scientists (SHPE & MAES).

 

Texas A&M-Kingsville alumna Jina Fuentes, a senior structural engineer at Burns and McDonnell in Houston, spoke to the visiting students about her experience as an engineer.

 

Fuentes said it’s vital for young women who are interested in having a career in engineering to experience events like Girls Day at A&M-Kingsville.

 

“By having this kind of exposure, you’re getting to where you know it’s possible, you know the steps. Now it’s just up to you to do it.”

 

Dr. Heidi Taboada, dean of the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering, spoke to the students about women in the engineering field.

 

“Female engineers are underrepresented in the engineering field … We need more female engineers,” Taboada said. “We hope that today the girls who visited us can learn a little bit about engineering. Texas A&M-Kingsville Engineering is here to assist the girls to try to find the right major for them.” 

 

Yolanda Cribb, a sixth grade teacher at A.C. Blunt Middle School, took some of her students to the Girls Day event.

 

“I believe it is very important to introduce girls, younger and younger, to STEM careers. That way they are breaking the stereotypes that have been around, like girls aren’t as good as boys are in these fields,” Cribb said. “Coming here today and listening to the different speakers so they can see the possibilities and exposing them to all the vast fields that are in engineering, it’s very important.”

 

Kyra De Los Santos, a middle school student from Aransas Pass, attended the event on Thursday.

 

“I think this is an awesome project,” De Los Santos said. “I think it’s so cool that we’re introducing girls to something that a lot of girls only think guys can do.”

 

The girls participated in a team activity that included designing and building a boat out of items provided to them. The boats were tested by Texas A&M-Kingsville engineering students.

 

Cailin Leal, a senior and vice-president of the ASCE, assisted with the event by testing the limits of the boats made by the students.

 

“We’re here inspiring the future of engineering in women,” Leal said. “It really just brings the engineering community together and I really enjoy it.”

 

Category: Engineering , General Univ

Photo of Monica Alfaro

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