Jan. 7, 2004

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

KU engineering program's appeal draws teen girls, will double this summer

LAWRENCE -- Popularity can be a very good thing.

Project Discovery, a weeklong summer program at the University of Kansas that gives teen girls an introduction to engineering, has become such a hit that the School of Engineering is expanding its offering.

Starting this year, the school will offer two sessions for up to 40 girls each.

"We are truly excited about the growing response we've had for this program," said Florence Boldridge, director of diversity programs for the School of Engineering. "Last year we set our sights on 30 girls, and we were able to accommodate 42. We know the demand for high-quality programs such as this is soaring, and we are pleased that we will be able to expand our program."

Project Discovery lets girls entering ninth through 12th grade, explore science and engineering principles in an enlightening, no-pressure setting.

Working with KU engineering faculty members, students use fundamental concepts in mathematics, chemistry and physics to solve open-ended engineering design problems. Project Discovery participants are allowed use of several labs at KU for eight hands-on lab sessions focusing on a type of engineering in which they've indicated an interest. The professors guide students, answer their questions and help them develop problem-solving skills. During the week students will call the KU residence halls home and will take part in team-building activities, tours and structured fun time.

The first session of Project Discovery is set for June 6 through 12 and will be immediately followed by a second session June 13 through 19. Though some planning remains, the goal is to have different engineering disciplines featured in each session so students can gain experience in another type of engineering if they choose to attend both sessions. The cost for each session is $300 and includes lodging, meals and lab materials. Financial assistance is available for qualifying students on a first-come, first-served basis.

Project Discovery is enriching for a variety of reasons, Boldridge said.

"It gives girls a chance to learn about engineering in a comfortable environment that also gives them a taste of what college life can be like," she said.

The objective is for students to leave the camp with a better understanding of engineering disciplines. The girls will learn whether the challenging and highly lucrative careers available in engineering are a good educational choice for them.

To register or get additional information, contact Florence Boldridge, (785) 864-3620 or fboldridge@ku.edu. To enroll, a completed registration packet must be returned by May 1.

Prospective participants also can learn more at www.engr.ku.edu/specialevents/pd2003.htm.

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