Girls’ school graduates are three times more likely to consider careers in engineering, and every February, Ashley Hall joins the national celebration of Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. This annual event aims to provide students with shared STEM experiences to improve their understanding of engineering, and its focus is largely on facilitating educational activities led by women in engineering.

To bring this event to life at Ashley Hall, the Upper School has partnered with Glenn Edmunds Jeffries ’79, Chief of Corporate Communications for the Army Corp of Engineers (Charleston District) to create the opportunity for students in grades 7, 8, and 10 to interact with engineering professionals representing different federal agencies. This year, agencies included the Air Force, U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit, U.S. Coast Guard, Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic (NIWC), National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Together, they worked with students on several STEM projects, including plant and wildlife identification, biotoxicity experiments, 3D printing,  problem solving storm surges, and more. 

The sessions also offer students a chance to ask questions about future career possibilities and meet new female role models. This introduction of girls to women who are working in math, science, and technology fields is an important part of encouraging more students to pursue engineering. “Although women are making progress in terms of proportion of degrees earned and percentage of workers represented in math, science, tech-heavy fields, we still have a long way to go,” says Upper School math teacher and physicist Claire Christensen. “I firmly believe that the gender gap at the post-secondary level can be narrowed by ensuring that we get our girls ‘hooked on’ STEM subjects from an early age—that we kindle their passion for these fields and that we build confidence in their skills and ability to pursue their interests in these fields.”