Brown introduces high school girls to engineering

Iris Bahar said the idea was to get girls involved in engineering early. | Contributed photo

Sarah Dugan enrolled at Brown University knowing that she wanted to major in engineering. 

This is because of a class she took in high school that was designed to get young students interested in engineering before they went to college. 

"That class was pretty much why I became an engineer,” she said. “It’s where I first got involved and interested.”

Now, Dugan has worked hard during her junior year to do the same for high school students.

Dugan served as a high school teaching assistant alongside undergrad Christine Herrmann and graduate student Jonathan Estrada in a class jointly offered by Brown’s School of Engineering and Lincoln School, a private all-girls school in Providence, Rhode Island. The class is held on Brown’s campus and is taught by faculty and students, introducing key concepts in engineering. It also gives the high school students access to the Brown Design Workshop and the tools and equipment there.

The collaboration between Brown and Lincoln came about last year when Iris Bahar and Clyde Briant, both engineering professors, and Kathy Takayama, former executive director of the Sheridan Center, the head of Lincoln School, Suzanne Fogarty, with the idea.

Bahar said the idea was to get girls involved in engineering early even though there is not much engineering taught at the high school level.

“We were thinking of a way to address this idea of getting girls involved in engineering in a non-intimidating way that would get them really excited,” Bahar said

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