More Women Entering Science Careers

We like to have girls in science and engineering. Here at UTEP, we make an effort to encourage women to pursue these degrees. The engineering department hosts a SWE (Society of Women Engineers), and the ACM adds its drop of water to the ocean by helping organize the NCWIT awards. Here is what people around the world are doing and how its helping!

Calgary Herald (Canada) (03/26/11)

The Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology (WISEST) program has helped encourage young Canadian women to explore careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). University of Calgary professor and WISEST member Laleh Behjat believes that diversity is important in STEM fields because it leads to more innovation. In 2009, Behjat received an Imperial Oil STEM grant to find ways to promote engineering and science to females. “Our research showed a lot of girls–and boys, too–lose interest and think mathematics and science are too hard by grade four,” Behjat says. The researchers created a computer game that has applications in math and science as well as social and creative writing. Professional geophysicist Becky Cook credits the Alberta Women’s Science Network for being an “integral part of getting the word out to young women about career possibilities in science and engineering.” Margaret-Ann Armour, an honorary member of the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta, was one of the 20 individuals involved in the creation of WISEST. Armour says that as a result of the WISEST program, the University of Alberta “went from about 30 percent women to 53 percent women entering first-year science and from 10 percent to about 25 percent in engineering.”

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NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing

The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) awards young girls from local high schools for their achievements and interests in computing. The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing has been awarded at both the local (“affiliate”) level as well as at the National level.



This fall is UTEP’s Computer Science Department’s second year sponsoring the affiliate award for the El Paso/Las Cruces region. In its first year sponsoring the award UTEP was able to reach about 20 girls and this year another 23 girls from schools in different school districts in El Paso such as Fabens Independent School District, Socorro Independent School District, and Ysleta School District, as well as a few New Mexico High Schools.

Winners will be announced on December 1st, 2010 and invited to the affiliate level awards ceremony in early February 2011. We would like to thank all those professors and students who helped out throughout the process this event has taken, from announcing the award by visiting or contacting local high schools, to revising the applications, and planning the affiliate awards ceremony. For more information you are welcome to visit the award page at:



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