Femineers Program Develops Engineers in Alburnett

In January 2017, the Southeast STEM Region awarded five programs seed funding to grow innovative programs with the hope of preparing them to be on the scale-up program menu.  Funding for the Southeast Iowa STEM Innovation Fund was provided by local businesses who sought to partner with organizations in the community they serve.  One of the awarded programs was the University of Iowa Women in Science and Engineering () Femineers™ program which was developed by Cal Poly Pomona's College of Engineering in 2013 to expose young women to computer science and electrical and computer engineering through a STEAM approach.

One of the goals of WiSE is to expand educational opportunities for young women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). WiSE Femineers™ targets this mission by providing early exposure and educational opportunities for young women in the underrepresented areas of computer science and computer/electrical engineering.

The Femineers™ program is a 30-hour curriculum called Creative Robotics that can be adjusted to the individual needs of each of the students. Students begin by learning basic circuitry, electronics, and coding, which culminates in an art project that students program to have moving parts and programmable lights.  For the pilot year, 18 female 18th grade students from Alburnett participated in the program under the leadership of Ann Jameson and Brianna Lentz.  

When asked about the future of the program, Chelle Lehman, Co-Director of WiSE at the University of Iowa, said, " My hope for the future of the WiSE Femineer™ Program is that it will grow to include schools across the state of Iowa.  I also hope to engage and inspire young women who may not have previously considered a career in technology or may not have been interested in participating in traditional technology outreach programs."

To learn more about how the University of Iowa WiSE program is supporting underrepresented students in STEM, follow them on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UIowaWiSEK12Outreach/

Twitter: @UIowaWiSE