Introduce a Girl to Engineering 2022: Dream Big and Reimagine the Possible with the Million Girls Moonshot

Photo Credit: OregonAskIntroduce a Girl to Engineering Day 2022 is one of our favorite days of the year. Girl Day is part of Engineers Week that celebrates how engineers make a difference in our world and engages youth in engineering. Bringing youth to worksites, visiting classrooms, leading activities at afterschool programs, and sending engineering activities home for families are ways to support our next generation of engineers. Whether you are an engineer, afterschool educator, teacher, club volunteer, or caregiver you have the potential to inspire a girl’s future in engineering.

At STEM Next, we believe an engineering mindset is what will enable girls to innovate and imagine a brighter tomorrow. Through the Million Girls Moonshot, a transformative nationwide movement to reimagine who can engineer, who can build and who can invent, we are building on a robust network of afterschool and out-of-school learning programs nationwide, equipping educators with innovative tools to engage girls in STEM learning. The 2022 Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day is an opportunity to reimagine possibilities. For girls and for engineering!

We offer six ideas that support this year’s theme, Reimagining the Possibilities. We hope they inspire your efforts for Girl Day and help you make a deeper impact on girls in your community today and tomorrow.

1. Connect with girls over time. Make Girl Day into Girl Days. Scientific Adventures for Girls appreciates the impact of engineers and other STEM professionals when they introduce girls to the joys of their careers. They prepare role models for successful in-person visits. They also work with role models for virtual afterschool activities. We love how the virtual format allows role models to go from one day of service to long-term engagement. Imagine the benefits of relationships that develop between engineers and girls over time. Look here for ideas from DiscoverE for successful outreach by role models.

2. Amp up the power of your Girl Day by doing more than exposing girls to engineering activities. Provide advice on course work, offer words of encouragement, and make an introduction for an internship. You have the power of your networks to expand the networks of girls; you can open doors with introductions to influential persons in your network. You can also help girls build their “networking muscle.” Read the EngineerGirl Q & A from engineers about the power of networking and networking tips for girls. We especially appreciate the advice of Cynthia Schindler. “Being social and putting yourself out there is not something that comes naturally to everyone, but with practice, we can all learn how. You can start learning how to build your network today, even if you don’t have a job, by building positive relationships with teachers and parents of your friends. These are the people who, when you do start applying for your first jobs and for college, will be your references — the people who you will need to ‘put in a good word’ for you.”

3. Introduce a girl and her family to engineering. Share hands-on activities that girls can do at home with siblings and caregivers. Be mindful of activities that make use of materials that every household has. You can find ideas for at-home engineering activities from Discover Engineering. Make these activities even more meaningful by introducing girls and their caregivers to role models. Some of our favorite places to find diverse role models include AAAS IF/THEN® AmbassadorsFabFemsCareerGirls, and EngineerGirl. For more ideas to empower caregivers, check out our blog Introduce a Girl (and Her Family) to Engineering Day from 2019.

Photo Credit: OMSI

4. It is never too early to begin planning for summer. Support girls and their families in making plans that include engineering. Communicate the importance of summer experiences to caregivers and go one step further by helping them find summer programs. How? Look for organizations that offer engineering programs that are accessible by public transportation, free or low cost, and are fun and culturally relevant. Check out the National Society of Black EngineersGirls Inc., and Girlstart for summer programs for youth in elementary and middle school. Check out the EngineerGirl website for summer programs hosted at universities open to high school students interested in pursuing engineering.

5. Go big by supporting organizations whose mission is to engage and sustain girls’ interest in engineering. Imagine all the girls in your community who might find a lifetime of passion in engineering if given a chance to meet role models who look like them and experience the power of engineering for social good. Your support can help organizations sustain and expand their engineering programs. Million Girls MoonshotTechnovationTechbridge GirlsGirlstartScientific Adventures for Girls, and Girls Garage host awesome programs that connect girls to engineering.

6. Tap into your state’s resource-rich Afterschool Network. Resources already exist to help educators, both in and out-of-school, provide high-quality STEM opportunities. Through the Million Girls Moonshot initiative, STEM Next is working with all 50 statewide afterschool networks to provide resources, training, access to experts and more to programs across the country to help girls develop an engineering mindset. Connect with your state’s afterschool network.

We hope that these six ideas give you inspiration and make it possible for today’s girls to reimagine their possibilities in engineering. We would love to hear from you and learn about your Girl Day(s). Share your successes and lessons learned on social media. @STEMNext #GirlDay2022 #MillionGirlsMoonshot #EWeek2022

Linda Kekelis. I am chairperson of the steering committee for the National Academy of Engineering’s EngineerGirl and an advisor on The Family Engagement Project and Million Girls Moonshot with STEM Next Opportunity Fund.

Teresa Drew. I am the Deputy Director of STEM Next Opportunity Fund and leading the Million Girl Moonshot initiative: Reimagining who can engineer, who can build and who can invent.


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