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ERIC Number: EJ1045822
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1084-6522
Increasing Interest of Young Women in Engineering
Hinterlong, Diane; Lawrence, Branson; DeVol, Purva
NCSSSMST Journal, v19 n1 p20-25 Spr 2014
The internationally recognized Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) develops creative, ethical leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. As a teaching and learning laboratory created by the State of Illinois, IMSA enrolls academically talented Illinois students in grades 10 through 12 in its advanced, residential college preparatory program. Each year, IMSA enrolls approximately 225 students composed of nearly equal numbers of male and female students. Students are required to complete a core science program consisting of four courses in chemistry, physics, biology and scientific research during their sophomore year. Juniors and seniors must complete a minimum of four electives in science over the next two years. Students may elect to fulfill their elective requirements by completing any courses offered in the science program. In the fall of 2004, engineering was first offered as a physics elective to upperclassmen. When the course was first offered, female and male student enrollment was approximately equal. Over the first few years that the course was offered, however, the percentage of female students enrolled in the course dropped significantly. Active recruitment of female students by IMSA instructors was the only factor preventing the course from becoming an all male course. The growing disparity in enrollment of females and males in IMSA's engineering course prompted further inquiry, beginning with a review of relevant literature exploring trends in physics/engineering enrollment patterns. Presented in this article, following the literature review, a quantitative analysis was initiated to examine the assumption that the same trend of disparity in enrollment between females and males existed in other physics courses. Based on this data, information to provide insight into the reasons for the disparity was elicited through focus groups and surveys among IMSA students. Finally, action steps to proactively address the disparity were identified and implemented.
National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Information Analyses
Education Level: Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois