Reshaping The Future

Women are underrepresented in engineering. Fewer than 19 percent of engineering students in the United States are women (compared with 25 percent at Lehigh), and only about 13 percent of working engineers are women.

But Lehigh faculty like William Best, professor of practice in electrical and computer engineering, are hoping to increase those numbers by introducing girls to engineering at a young age.

Best teaches at the weeklong CHOICES summer camp for middle school girls. CHOICES (Charting Horizons and Opportunities in Careers in Engineering) is an outreach program designed to introduce young women to engineering. In addition to the summer camp, it includes a one-day event each spring that brings about 60 girls to Lehigh’s campus.

Best says the girls get experience in engineering through hands-on laboratory work, field trips and discussion exercises. The program puts a big emphasis on applications to show girls how engineering can make a difference in the world. This is especially important because research has shown that women tend to gravitate toward fields that help society.

Lehigh began the one-day CHOICES program in 1996; the summer camp was added in 2004. Since then, more than 1,300 girls have gone through the program.

Learn more about William Best at: