The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) with funding from the ExxonMobil Foundation and in partnership with Girls Scouts of the USA, WGBH’s Design Squad and Techbridge held the ninth annual Invent It. Build It. (IIBI) in October 2018. The event took place at the SWE annual conference in Minneapolis, MN. Participants included 303 middle school girls, 128 high school girls, plus 214 of their parents/guardians and educators.
One of the primary goals of SWE outreach activities is to expose girls to engineering, thereby increasing their awareness of what an engineer is. Through hands-on activities, SWE aims to help increase girls’ confidence in engineering-related skills. At the 2018 Invent It. Build It., middle school participants were asked if they knew what an engineer did. As in past years, the difference between reported engineering knowledge before and after the event was statistically significant (p<.000, Cohen’s d effect size = 0.81).
Middle school girls were also asked about their level of confidence in certain engineering-related areas, including problem solving, building, and designing.
In addition to being asked about their engineering knowledge and confidence in engineering-related areas, middle school participants were also asked about their interest in becoming an engineer. This was asked before and after the Invent It. Build It. event, and the results show that the difference was statistically significant (p<.000, Cohen’s d effect size = 0.30).