Local Foundations Support Syracuse University to Inspire Future Women Engineers

Project Engage Tom McCausland Siemens SpeakerSyracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science has received support from four Central New York Foundations to offer Project ENGAGE (Empowering the Next Generation: Advancing Girls in Engineering) on the University campus this summer. Project ENGAGE was conceived of by the College’s Dean Laura J. Steinberg to increase middle school girls’ knowledge of, and interest in, engineering.

“Many have called attention to the need for graduates of engineering schools, and many have noted the underrepresentation of women in engineering,” said Dean Steinberg. “Our College seeks to be a catalyst for change in engineering education and this program is a step toward realizing our goal.”

Through a focus on how engineering professions contribute to positive societal change, Project ENGAGE aims to encourage more talented young women to pursue careers in engineering, science and technology fields, where they are presently under-represented.

In early fall of 2013, the Allyn Foundation generously committed $30,000 to support Project ENGAGE and challenged other local foundations and businesses to match their grant. Meg O’Connell, Executive Director of the Allyn Foundation explained the foundation’s interest in the program; “We are strongly committed to supporting and encouraging more young women to consider the field of engineering. The growth of our local economy is strongly linked to building a diverse and talented workforce enabling us to meet the challenges of the future.”

The Richard Shineman Foundation, John Ben Snow Foundation, and the Joan Rothenberg Family Foundation joined the Allyn Foundation, to fund Project ENGAGE and allow 60 middle school girls to take advantage of this unique opportunity with little cost to the participants and their families.

“Dr. Shineman believed strongly in the enabling power of education,” said Lauren Pistell, Executive Director of the Foundation. “As a chemist, he was particularly passionate about encouraging students to love the sciences. We are delighted to partner with Project ENGAGE and are very hopeful that some girls in Oswego County will be able to take advantage of this great opportunity.”

Project Engage 2Project ENGAGE will take place this July on the Syracuse University campus. The program will be offered in two one-week sessions focusing first on Sustainability and Alternative Energy for rising 8th graders and on Biomedical Engineering for rising 9th graders.

The program will involve engineering classes, field trips, and a week-long capstone project under the direction of local teachers and renowned female engineers, professors, and college students.

Project Engage will accept 30 nominated 7th and 8th graders each week for the summer 2014 program. Applicants must be nominated by their school, submit transcripts, teacher recommendations, and complete short essay answers. All applications are due by March 7th with a cost of $150 to accepted students, with options for scholarships.

For additional information on the program please visit http://engage.eng-cs.syr.edu/ or email projectengage@syr.edu.