Feb. 18, 2004

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Contact: Jill Hummels, School of Engineering, (785) 864-2934.

KU engineering program Feb. 27 helps girls see career opportunities

LAWRENCE -- The University of Kansas School of Engineering is inviting high school girls across the state and throughout the region to learn about the world of possibilities that awaits them in engineering.

Engineer Your Career, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, in the Burge Union at KU, coincides with the annual Engineering Expo, an open house that demonstrates the fun of engineering.

The event is designed to give girls a glimpse of engineering, said Molly O'Connor, coordinator of the program and a graduate student in civil engineering at KU.

"The goal of this program is to introduce, inform and spark interest in young women about engineering as a future career," O'Connor said. "It is designed to let young talented women who show an interest in math and science the many possibilities and opportunities one can possess with a degree in engineering."

The program also strives to show girls that they can make their mark in a field traditionally dominated by men.

"Women should do things they are interested in and good at, not do things just because they are a 'woman' thing," O'Connor said. "Engineering is typically seen as a 'guy' thing, so some women might shy away from pursuing this type of career even if they are interested." She added that female engineers are valued because they often bring different perspectives to the table while solving engineering problems.

The event will begin with a continental breakfast and welcome session. The group will choose from presentations about the various engineering disciplines and the opportunities each field presents. At 9 a.m. participants will be transported to the Lied Center to hear Engineering Expo keynote speaker Scott Smith, president of the Central Division of HNTB Cos., an international transportation, architectural and design firm based in Kansas City, Mo. Smith earned a master's degree in civil engineering from KU in 1981. After Smith's presentation, the girls will see the Engineering Expo 2004 displays in Learned and Eaton halls.

Lunch will be provided, and during that time the high school students will be able to quiz a panel of KU engineering students about whatever is on their minds -- from life in the dorms, to the challenges engineering students face, to preparing for college.

Cost to attend is $6 per attendee and includes breakfast and lunch. Coordinators ask that each participant or group of participants has a chaperone. Up to 125 girls may participate. The KU School of Engineering will provide free transportation for students in the Lawrence school district.

To register or to get more information, contact Molly O'Connor at (785) 864-2936, or by e-mail at mollyo@ku.edu. Information also is available online at www.engr.ku.edu.

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