(Kings Park, NY) — School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc. (SBPLI) DBA FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Long Island is announcing that March is Expanding Girls’ Horizons in Science and Engineering Month and is urging girls to get involved in robotics. The group says this will help them become more interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) throughout their educational careers.
Expanding Girls’ Horizons in Science and Engineering Month was created by the Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) Network, a not-for-profit organization that encourages young women to pursue careers in STEM. According to the EYH Network, girls become most interested in these areas of study when they are in middle school.
A recent study from U.S. FIRST followed alumni in the first 72 months after completing its programs. Its results showed that STEM had a greater impact on women than their male counterparts. Further, the study found that, in the first three years in college, the percentage of female FIRST alumni taking engineering increased from 28% in Year One to 35% in Year Three. By the third year in college, the gender gap in declared engineering majors closed, with 51% of female and 51% of male FIRST alumni majoring in that field.
SBPLI has seen an increase in girls enrolling in its FIRST robotics programs. Girl Scout troops and all girls’ community groups formed teams in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) while in elementary school. Many of them continue to participate in FLL in middle school and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) in high school.
“SBPLI has encouraged girls at an early age to become involved in robotics,” said Bertram Dittmar, Executive Director, SBPLI. “Our robotics programs allow these young women to excel in STEM and generate interest in the field when they enter college. It also opens the door for them to land engineering jobs once they graduate.”