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KidWind Project Challenge gives girls equal footing

May 15, 2013
Estherville Daily News

Remember the days when only boys went into engineering or mathematics?

You know, maybe a couple generations, even a generation ago?

Well, it appears that could be changing, if the kids participating in the KidWind Project Challenge at Iowa Lakes Community College Wednesday was any indication.

With 12 boys and seven girls on the four winning teams, it appears the numbers could be evening out - something that's been a national trend for some time now.

That's quite a change from engineer Jack Ryan, who invented missiles for the Raytheon corporation and later patented Barbie, launching a new role model for generations of young girls.

Until a generation or so ago, girls were taught that boys went into fields like engineering and science while girls went into the nursing, teaching and secretarial fields (now administrative assistants). And within living memory, a female teacher could have been dismissed from her position if she married.

The KidWind Project Challenge held at Iowa Lakes Community College, funded by a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) scale-up grant, is helping to shatter the old preconceptions that limited the fields girls could enter. You could see the glitter in the girls' eyes as they explained their projects to Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, co-chair of Gov. Branstad's STEM advisory committee.

As more girls pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math, we can expect a broader perspective in these fields.

And who knows.

Maybe they'll come up with a different Barbie.



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