Designing bridges, solving environmental problems and improving traffic flow are just some of the creative challenges engineers at the North Carolina Department of Transportation tackle each day.
The profession can be a great fit for girls with a flair for design and construction, a message NCDOT engineers will be taking to middle- and high school-age students beginning Monday, Feb. 13, with a series of workshops across the state to encourage more girls to consider the profession.
According to the National Science Foundation, only 11 percent of practicing engineers are women, a fact that NCDOT Transportation Engineer Nazia Sarder blames on the misperception that it is a “man’s profession.”
Sarder, 25, said it can be a perfect choice for young women interested in creative design.
“There are many things engineers do most girls don’t know about,” she said. “You can build bridges and design roads, or you can help reduce air pollution. The opportunities are so broad. ”
Sarder, who switched her major to engineering from architecture after learning more about the options, said she is eager to share her experiences with other young women.
She and other female engineers from NCDOT will participate in workshops in Greenville, Charlotte, Raleigh and Winston-Salem. The events will include a panel discussion about various engineering fields, such as construction, traffic management and environmental engineering.
Students also will have a chance to participate in experiments involving the engineering principles, such as those required for roadwork and bridge building.
The Raleigh workshop will take place Thursday, Feb. 16, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the NCDOT Training and Development Center, 313 Chapanoke Drive in Raleigh.
Introduce a Girl to Engineering is a national movement to help girls understand the creative and collaborative nature of engineering and how engineers are changing our world. Feb. 23 has been designated as Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day by the Engineers Week Foundation.
Engineers Week, which takes place Feb. 19 through 25 this year, celebrates the positive contributions engineers make to society and is a catalyst for outreach events across the country