Working to get girls into technology

Posted: 2:13 PM, Jan 30, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-30 14:13:49-05

Blair Singleton got into engineering after she was told it was only for men.

"Even now we still have this stigma, I think where women can't do computer science." said Singleton "A woman can't do engineering even like when I talk to people and say I'm an engineering they say what you're an engineer? I'm like yeah I'm an engineer."

That's why she works to get more girls interested in engineering and technology.

"Breaking that stigma you know definitely helps because I think younger women can see women computer scientist. They see okay it's possible, I can do it as well" said Singleton.

At Michigan State, the number of females in computer science has increased from 7 percent in 2008 to 13 percent. But even though the College of Engineering has seen more women enroll, it still actively recruits for more.

"We really have to start at younger ages. They need to start envisioning them selves that this might be a profession, something they would be interested in" said Laura Dillon, professor of computer science and engineering.

The university is using a grant from the National Center of Women and Information Technology to make sure women who get started in technology stay interested throughout their time at MSU.

"We tend to lose, you know women and minority students from our first programming course" said Dillon. "They kind of get lost in that mass of students and so the idea is that this will give them a smaller cohort of people that are more like them."

Blair Singleton says smaller classes and more hands on experiences are what is needed to attract the women they need.

"By having other women around it definitely helps with the comfortably factor but by no means is being the only one excuses why you can't do just as good as anyone else" Singleton said.

MSU was one of 42 organizations nationwide to receive the grant along with Michigan Tech and the University of Michigan.