The IEEE MBCET student branch spearheaded the WIE STAR program in the Kerala section.
The IEEE Student-Teacher and Research Engineer/Scientist (STAR) program was developed to address the growing concern that, at a young age, girls are discouraged from careers in mathematics, science, and engineering. This educational outreach program promotes involvement of IEEE members with local junior high and high schools in order to create a positive image of engineering careers.
Through a one-to-one interaction between society volunteers and a Student-Teacher Team, STAR’s aim was to create a technical support network for teachers and a mentoring program for students.
Identifying a School
The best way to get started was to identify a school or group (such as a Girl Scout Troop) to work with. Some suggestions include:
- School your children or friend’s children attend
- School near your place of wok.
- Many companies have educational outreach programs (commonly referred as K-12 Programs). By calling corporate headquarters at your company or the department of education at your university, one can find out about the established programs. Quite often these programs have relationships with local schools.
Visiting the School and organizing a program
Call the principal or headmaster at your school of choice and introduce yourself. Ask the principal to recommend an energetic science teacher who would be interested in this program. Contact the teacher to set up a meeting. Next, visit the school to speak and meet with the teacher. Be prepared to discuss a curriculum or plan for the mentoring activities. Some suggested activities are as follows.
- Bring a laptop computer and access the Web. By doing this, you can let the students become familiar with the Web and hunt down experiments of interest.
- The WIE Web site has a list of science and mentoring program resources. Set up a series of experiments to build or study something.
- Set up a field trip to visit your company, local university, or a local science museum.
- Coordinate best paper contests.
- Invite women engineers from industry and research institutes for a discussion on their experiences and careers.
- Invite the students to visit a local university research program that is involved with simple engineering projects.
Work with the teacher to decide how many students to include in the program. IEEE has found that a program has a better chance to succeed if the teacher had previously selected students who may not have opportunities for involvement in programs such as STAR. The teacher will then ask the students if they would like to participate.