By Amanda Yarger
Lego of your doubt, girls—these toys aren’t just for boys.
As part of a nationwide effort by universities to increase the number of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics related fields, Baylor’s School of Engineering and Computer Science received a grant to sponsor “Ladies and Legos” programs this month to attract more women to the school.
Donated by one of the world’s leading oil suppliers, Halliburton, the grant will encourage open dialog among women interested in or involved in science and technology.
Emily Sandvall, assistant director of engineering and computer science initiatives, said Halliburton provided the donation because of the program’s intention to recruit women to the fields, among other qualifying criteria.
“I think it’s a great chance to build communication,” Sandvall said. “This type of project is a great time to talk about what type of biases they are facing. Why is that and how can we change the culture?”
Women currently represent a minority within all STEM sectors, with only 12 percent in the engineering field, according to an American Association of University Women report last month.
Adding women to the STEM fields has been a national focus as well, Sandvall said.
The White House partnered with the Office of Science and Technology Policy to assist efforts in encouraging women and girls to join science-related fields.
Houston Junior Nhat Hoang said working as a physics major has been empowering.
Although Hoang said she doesn’t focus on the issue of her field mostly being male, she has experienced levels of discrimination during her education.
Despite this, Hoang said Baylor’s STEM classes are an asset because of the encouragement they provide.
In addition to last evening’s “Ladies and Legos session,” another session will be held on April 21, and is open to all women undergraduate STEM majors.