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Girls get fun exposure to engineering

The girls were challenged to build the tallest and sturdiest structure possible out of newspaper. (Source KSWO) The girls were challenged to build the tallest and sturdiest structure possible out of newspaper. (Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -There's a movement underway to get young women interested in what's typically considered a male-dominated industry.

We're talking about engineering.

Great Plains Technology Center hosted "Discover Engineering Girl’s Day" in the Lawton High School gymnasium. It was an opportunity to inform 7th- and 8th-grade girls about the industry and get them excited about future careers.

The girls were split into 10 groups that competed against each other in timed activities that used science, math and critical thinking. One of those activities was a fun race against the clock with each group trying to make the tallest, most durable structure out of newspaper.

Elise Soper, an 8th-grader, says it was one of her favorite class sessions so far.

"It's easier for me to understand when I'm doing something rather when I'm writing stuff down, and it’s like just I get involved and I like taking leadership," Soper said.

It's that excitement that Great Plains instructor Dana Ponder says she hoped would come from the event.

"I think sometimes they don't look at engineering as a possibility. They may think that it’s just for the men or boys and sometimes it may just be that it isn't the first thing that you think of. But now this might just be that event that sticks with them,” Ponder said.

They even got to hear from a woman working in the industry. Jordan Kenworth is an engineer for Georgia Pacific, and she inspired the girls to jump at careers in the field.

"The world needs more engineers. That is a profession that is always going to be around. It’s always exciting. There are so many things to build and make better for small communities, large communities, the world in general. There are a lot of things that can be done," Kenworth said.

The message definitely changed some minds. Soper says she wants to learn more.

"When I was 10, I decided I was like mom, I am going to be a neurosurgeon. It is just so cool and all this. And then now that I see this, I'm kind of like there could be other things like inventing things," Soper said.

Great Plains Technology Center offers a pre-engineering course that students can take before heading off to college.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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