The IEEE Student-Teacher and Research Engineer/Scientist (STAR) Program was developed to address the growing concern that, at a young age, girls are discouraged from careers in mathematics, science, and engineering.
This educational outreach program promotes involvement of IEEE members with local junior high and high schools in order to create a positive image of engineering careers.
Through a one-to-one interaction between society volunteers and a Student-Teacher Team, STAR’s aim is to create a technical support network for teachers and a mentoring program for students.
STAR: 2010 and beyond
In 2010 and beyond, WIE has redefined the STAR program as a program that represents all pre-university outreach activities, and not limited to the Student-Teacher and Research Engineer/Scientist Program. The IEEE Women in Engineering program has developed tremendously since the formation of the original STAR program in 1995. With the growth in WIE Affinity Groups, growth in WIE membership, collaborations with IEEE Societies, and networking with other organizations, WIE has grown in resources to be able to expand its pre-university outreach activities. Due to the increase in coordinated efforts and collaborations, WIE has managed to reach over 19,000 students per year. The mission of the new STAR program will be to improve the perception of the field of engineering, continue to attract more girls to the pursue an engineering career, as well as promote to all students the endless possibilities that can result from considering engineering as a possible career option.
In addition to encouraging students to pursue engineering, WIE aims to convey the message that math and science are fun, engineering has career options that benefit humanity, and is gender neutral.
The goal is to create consistent reporting for WIE groups, as well as our WIE members conducting outreach. WIE must report and communicate consistently in order for our reporting to be accurate and clearly understood.
Therefore, the redefinition of our current “STAR” program will include the following reportable pre-university outreach:
- Classroom Activities
- Humanitarian Projects involving the pre-university community
- Hands on Activities
- Training of pre-university teachers
- Public Awareness Activities
- Field Trips
- Technical support networking
- and more…
- Report all pre-university activities as STAR.
- Update WIE and WIE Affinity Group websites.
- Consistently communicate the brand of the STAR program when conducting pre-university outreach to remain unified in efforts and thinking, while adhering to the mission, vision, and goals of WIE.
- Continue to promote the use of the IEEE Educational Activities TryEngineering.org resource for students to explore engineering. Also, to encourage IEEE volunteers to utilize the TryEngineering.org lesson plans since they are geared to help young people understand better what engineering means, and how an engineering career can be made part of their future.
Identifying a school
The best way to get started is to identify a school or group (such as a Girl Scout Troop) to work with. Some suggestions include:
- School your children or friend’s children attend
- School near your place of work
- Many companies have educational outreach programs (commonly referred as K-12 Programs). By calling corporate headquarters at your company or the department of education at your university, one can find out about the established programs. Quite often these programs have relationships with local schools.
Visiting the school and organizing the program
Call the principal or headmaster at your school of choice and introduce yourself. Ask the principal to recommend an energetic science teacher who would be interested in this program. Contact the teacher to set up a meeting.
Next, visit the school to speak and meet with the teacher. Be prepared to discuss a curriculum or plan for the mentoring activities. Some suggested activities are as follows.
- Bring a laptop computer and access the Web. By doing this, you can let the students become familiar with the Web and hunt down experiments of interest. The WIE Web site has a list of science and mentoring program resources.
- Set up a series of experiments to build or study something.
- Set up a field trip to visit your company, local university, or a local science museum.
- Coordinate best paper contests.
- Invite women engineers from industry and research institutes for a discussion on their experiences and careers.
- Invite the students to visit a local university research program that is involved with simple engineering projects.
- Work with the teacher to decide how many students to include in the program. IEEE has found that a program has a better chance to succeed if the teacher had previously selected students who may not have opportunities for involvement in programs such as STAR. The teacher will then ask the students if they would like to participate.
If you are interested in participating in the STAR Program, please contact WIE.