ASU engineering students team with high school to help youngsters explore world of technology

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ASU engineering students team with high school to help youngsters explore world of technology

Posted: March 12, 2012

Students in the calculus club at Xavier College Preparatory school are pictured presenting a demonstration on the morphology of bubbles. The school has partnered with ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering in efforts to enhance its students’ education in science, technology, engineering and math. Photo courtesy of Xavier College Preparatory

More than 400 girls from Phoenix-area middle schools will delve into the realm of information technology on March 16 with the help of students from Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and Xavier College Preparatory school in Phoenix.

During Xavier’s fourth annual “Girls Have IT Day” more than 100 Xavier high school students, along with members of the ASU student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), will mentor the girls through use of exhibits, hand-on demonstrations and other learning activities related to information technology.

ASU SWE members are volunteering to help manage the event. They’ve also devised some of the demonstrations and helped to plan activities.

The event is one of several joint efforts by Xavier and ASU’s engineering schools to promote interest among young women in science, technology, engineering and math.

“This is part of a growing collaboration we’ve developed with Xavier over the past four years to help bolster the ranks of young women pursuing careers in these fields,” says Stephen Rippon, the assistant dean of Recruitment, Outreach and Student Engagement for ASU’s engineering schools.

Xavier students participate in a high school extension of ASU’s Engineering Projects in Community Service program and in various competitions designed to develop and test students’ science, math and computer skills.

Another joint effort educates high school teachers and counselors about engineering, and what ASU’s engineering schools have to offer undergraduate students.

The teachers act as liaisons between high school students and the university, and become part of a growing liaison network involving numerous high schools.

“We’re also developing a program in which Xavier graduates who are now studying engineering at ASU will mentor current Xavier students, and another program to offer opportunities for Xavier students to get involved in research activities at the university,” Rippon says.

“Xavier has built an interdisciplinary approach to science, technology, engineering, art and math learning that has inspired creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills in our young women,” says Principal Sister Joan Fitzgerald.

The high school offers accelerated learning programs in those subjects, as well as honors studies, clubs and honors societies, and advanced-placement courses. Xavier students are also offered dual-enrollment in community college courses.

For more information, visit the Girl Have IT Day website.

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Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

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