"Gadget Camp" Takes In Girls, Turns Out Budding Engineers

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"Gadget Camp" Takes In Girls, Turns Out Budding Engineers

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A new summer camp is training young women to be engineers and skilled laborers via hands-on science.

Most of the time, summer camps for kids aren't the deepest of affairs. They're usually based around getting kids to spend time outdoors and socialize with others in their age groups. However, a summer camp near Chicago is doing something that's not only geeky but good for society: It's helping girls get interested in engineering and manufacturing.

"Gadget Camp" is a sixteen-girl camp that's run by Antigone Sharris, an "instructor in electronics, welding and computer-aided machinery at Triton College." The goal of the camp - which works with girls who are mostly from low-income families - is to help teach the girls how to become skilled laborers because there's still a high demand for such positions (even though the economy is still flatlining).

According to Sharris, a camp that teaches these skills is necessary because, "Not letting your children learn the hands-on component of the theory of science is killing us as a nation. You have to stop giving kids books and start giving them tools."

Sharris has apparently been pretty happy with the camp and its results: "There's no limit to what they can do. The only thing that does limit them is their thinking that they can't."

The fields of engineering and manufacturing are pretty light when it comes to women workers: It's estimated that only a quarter of the workforce are females. If Gadget Camp is able to help these young ladies get a leg up on future careers, then it sounds like a good cause to me.

Source: NY Times

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Hmm...I guess it is good for the girls, but there are already science camps why not advertise them a bit more (/change their focus) and let boys and girls have fun together?

What I wonder about when it comes to this. If they are from low income families that most likely can't afford sending their kids to college anyway what will a interest in engineering give them? A hobby while they work in a dead end job? I do think this is a good idea however. Engineers are needed.

bakan:
Hmm...I guess it is good for the girls, but there are already science camps why not advertise them a bit more (/change their focus) and let boys and girls have fun together?

Because science, engineering and related fields are traditionally male areas of interest and work. Girl to a much larger extent than boys are told by society that they can't (whatever it is because of biological or social reasons) work in these fields or are actively discouraged because they are seen as "men only" jobs. Letting these girls go at it in a girls-only enviroment lets them try it out without the interference of socially created gender roles and is thus more likely to enthuse them (if they like these things) to later get an education and a career in these fields.

Gethsemani:
Letting these girls go at it in a girls-only enviroment lets them try it out without the interference of socially created gender roles and is thus more likely to enthuse them (if they like these things) to later get an education and a career in these fields.

*sad face* But I would've loved to go on a camp like this when I was a kid. That sort of hands-on experience isn't really available for boys either.

Gethsemani:

bakan:
Hmm...I guess it is good for the girls, but there are already science camps why not advertise them a bit more (/change their focus) and let boys and girls have fun together?

Because science, engineering and related fields are traditionally male areas of interest and work. Girl to a much larger extent than boys are told by society that they can't (whatever it is because of biological or social reasons) work in these fields or are actively discouraged because they are seen as "men only" jobs. Letting these girls go at it in a girls-only enviroment lets them try it out without the interference of socially created gender roles and is thus more likely to enthuse them (if they like these things) to later get an education and a career in these fields.

You know, this attitude is why you have a lot of girls-only activities nowadays.
In my opinion schools have to begin with equally teaching boys and girls in every aspect and my school did this - though with some exceptions.
We had activities for nearly everything together as long as the interest was there and the teacher was able to motivate enough people.
So in the end these gender-only activities aren't any good as they favor a specific group and will lead to envy and separation.

And yet when a boys only (insert skill here) camp is opened the women's rights activists block the parking. *sigh*

gabe12301:
And yet when a boys only (insert skill here) camp is opened the women's rights activists block the parking. *sigh*

Eyyyep.

Honestly, the argument that "CUZ GERLZ R ALWAYZ TOLD TEHY KARNT DO X" is so outdated! Who does that anymore? It's not the 60s for the love of Celestia!

bakan:

Gethsemani:

bakan:
Hmm...I guess it is good for the girls, but there are already science camps why not advertise them a bit more (/change their focus) and let boys and girls have fun together?

Because science, engineering and related fields are traditionally male areas of interest and work. Girl to a much larger extent than boys are told by society that they can't (whatever it is because of biological or social reasons) work in these fields or are actively discouraged because they are seen as "men only" jobs. Letting these girls go at it in a girls-only enviroment lets them try it out without the interference of socially created gender roles and is thus more likely to enthuse them (if they like these things) to later get an education and a career in these fields.

You know, this attitude is why you have a lot of girls-only activities nowadays.
In my opinion schools have to begin with equally teaching boys and girls in every aspect and my school did this - though with some exceptions.
We had activities for nearly everything together as long as the interest was there and the teacher was able to motivate enough people.
So in the end these gender-only activities aren't any good as they favor a specific group and will lead to envy and separation.

The problem runs deeper than that, it has to do with social expectations, gender roles and peer pressure. But I think that falls a bit outside of this topic. Look up my posts in the R&P sectio on the wage gap to see a more in depth explanation of these problems.

Gethsemani:

bakan:

Gethsemani:

Because science, engineering and related fields are traditionally male areas of interest and work. Girl to a much larger extent than boys are told by society that they can't (whatever it is because of biological or social reasons) work in these fields or are actively discouraged because they are seen as "men only" jobs. Letting these girls go at it in a girls-only enviroment lets them try it out without the interference of socially created gender roles and is thus more likely to enthuse them (if they like these things) to later get an education and a career in these fields.

You know, this attitude is why you have a lot of girls-only activities nowadays.
In my opinion schools have to begin with equally teaching boys and girls in every aspect and my school did this - though with some exceptions.
We had activities for nearly everything together as long as the interest was there and the teacher was able to motivate enough people.
So in the end these gender-only activities aren't any good as they favor a specific group and will lead to envy and separation.

The problem runs deeper than that, it has to do with social expectations, gender roles and peer pressure. But I think that falls a bit outside of this topic. Look up my posts in the R&P sectio on the wage gap to see a more in depth explanation of these problems.

In America maybe, but I honestly have never, ever seen anything like that in Australia, ever.

Or maybe I'm not exposed to it, but none of my female friends seem to complain (Or maybe that's how society has made them think. OoooOOOooohh!)

The camp itself is sexist, but you'll be called a chauvinist pig if you call them out on it, you can't win, so just ignore it until society either rights itself or the nukes fall.

bakan:
You know, this attitude is why you have a lot of girls-only activities nowadays.
In my opinion schools have to begin with equally teaching boys and girls in every aspect and my school did this - though with some exceptions.
We had activities for nearly everything together as long as the interest was there and the teacher was able to motivate enough people.
So in the end these gender-only activities aren't any good as they favor a specific group and will lead to envy and separation.

Because gender roles exist.

I'm well aware that for the most part they shouldn't. That they're a bad thing and shouldn't be encouraged. But reality is that they do exist, and we have to live with that.

In a single-sex environment it's much easier to let go of useless gender roles then it is in a normal environment as in a single-sex environment everyone is letting go of their gender roles while in a normal environment it's just, in this case, the girls while the boys are doing exactly what their gender role says, engineering.

This will just demotivate all the girls as they don't want to appear the weird ones not filling their gender role while the boys are acting normal, and yes these gender roles do exist among children. I'm sure you noticed at your school as well that in certain activities there was much less motivation from either boys or girls to enthusiastically participate in a that activity.

Of course you could hold a summer camp in which the girls are all doing engineering activities while the boys are all doing fashion design, that would work. But it's not really a very effective way of holding a summer camp.

shame.. I would have loved the camp if there was one 15 years ago.

oh well. at least the world could use less and less psychology majors and more engineers.

mysecondlife:
shame.. I would have loved the camp if there was one 15 years ago.

oh well. at least the world could use less and less psychology majors and more engineers.

Well, we need the shrinks to keep the engineers in check.

Forbearance:
In America maybe, but I honestly have never, ever seen anything like that in Australia, ever.

Or maybe I'm not exposed to it, but none of my female friends seem to complain (Or maybe that's how society has made them think. OoooOOOooohh!)

The camp itself is sexist, but you'll be called a chauvinist pig if you call them out on it, you can't win, so just ignore it until society either rights itself or the nukes fall.

If you're from a middle or higher class family that's generally well educated then likely you're not exposed to it.

The whole 60s thing did a great job for educated, western, middle and higher class people. But it's effects weren't nearly as pronounced in the rest of the world's society. It's less, and it's certainly much less outspoken. But in the target group for this camp, lower class girls, it still very much exists.

Both boys and girls still have a lot of gender roles, social expectations and peer pressure among lower classes, immigrants and many third-world countries. And there's still more then a few countries in which the whole "women are the weaker sex, to be ruled by men" is very much alive.

... I would have really liked going to an engineering camp :(

I'll get angry if I write much, but a engineering camp "just for boys" would get slaughtered in the press.

So we build a camp that helps to reinforce the idea of a "female engineer", putting one group of people above another.

Remind me - all you white knights - among Chicago low-privileged young people, does the idea that "women are the weaker sex, to be ruled by men" hold true? Is it not that both genders are desperately fighting for work to get free of the poverty, drugs and degradation in a first world country?

If we're aiming for equality, why are the amount of male-only professions/meeting places being wiped out, while the female-only professions/meeting places already above the male-only, and are increasing?

Not to mention that one of the first things the girls are going to need knowledge of is other boys, so they can form a working relationship.

By delineating the genders constantly, all you're doing is widening the gap.

Take an idea like this, make it countrywide, get Ford or someone to sponsor it and give it to ALL the people. Not just the unprivileged few.

Judging the third world is for the third world to do. Not us.

Gethsemani:

bakan:
Hmm...I guess it is good for the girls, but there are already science camps why not advertise them a bit more (/change their focus) and let boys and girls have fun together?

Because science, engineering and related fields are traditionally male areas of interest and work. Girl to a much larger extent than boys are told by society that they can't (whatever it is because of biological or social reasons) work in these fields or are actively discouraged because they are seen as "men only" jobs. Letting these girls go at it in a girls-only enviroment lets them try it out without the interference of socially created gender roles and is thus more likely to enthuse them (if they like these things) to later get an education and a career in these fields.

actually its a stigma for men as well. There is a reason America smart shames everyone, and there is a reason why America is viewed as "Jesus Land." Engineering? Science? America views that as a waste of time, portrays it as a field only for nerds who suffer from perpetual virginity. What IS considered worthwhile? Anything relating to corporations and businesses. The old American dream from the 50s that never got with the times.

I would love to have gone to an engineering camp, but America's views make it hard for boys and girls to get ahead because of social stigma.

Everyone in this thread wringing their hands about how the evol feminists (!!111) would shut this camp down if it was boys only must live in an alternate dimension, because in this one there are literally thousands of boys-only skills camps in North America alone, be they for sports skills, trades, or wilderness survival. There's absolutely nothing stopping them from making a boys-only engineering camp whatsoever; the Boy Engineering Scouts camp to this Girls'.

Well, except for the fact that it isn't needed in the same way. Girls in our society aren't encourage to be scientists and engineers as much as boys are - there have been a number of studies that proved this. Comparing this camp to one for boys is simply not apples to apples, it's apples and oranges (though again, there's absolutely nothing stopping anyone from making an all-boys camp legally or otherwise, teh evol feminists !!!11 do not rain on the parades of the literally thousands of extant boys-only camps today - if you want a boys-only engineering camp, you have but to make one, though of course it is easier to sit around and le sigh about how the world is against you because people on the internet say so).

But you know what would be apples to apples? A nursing camp for boys. Or an early education camp for boys. Male nurses and elementary school teachers are in high demand, yet socially discouraged from these careers. That would definitely be a worthwhile effort.

The_root_of_all_evil:
I'll get angry if I write much, but a engineering camp "just for boys" would get slaughtered in the press.

So we build a camp that helps to reinforce the idea of a "female engineer", putting one group of people above another.

Remind me - all you white knights - among Chicago low-privileged young people, does the idea that "women are the weaker sex, to be ruled by men" hold true? Is it not that both genders are desperately fighting for work to get free of the poverty, drugs and degradation in a first world country?

If we're aiming for equality, why are the amount of male-only professions/meeting places being wiped out, while the female-only professions/meeting places already above the male-only, and are increasing?

Not to mention that one of the first things the girls are going to need knowledge of is other boys, so they can form a working relationship.

By delineating the genders constantly, all you're doing is widening the gap.

Take an idea like this, make it countrywide, get Ford or someone to sponsor it and give it to ALL the people. Not just the unprivileged few.

Judging the third world is for the third world to do. Not us.

Because a "just for boys" camp would get slaughtered in the press we have to go out and slaughter a "just for girls" camp? Yeah... that makes sense....

And why do anything about eliminating male-only professions while there's an increase in female-only professions? We should be increasing male-only profession! That'll get us equality! Every bad thing that happens to our gender we'll just return full-force!

Why go for equality through mutual respect when it can also be achieved through mutual disrespect? Who cares about equal rights and opportunities? We demand equal discrimination and limitations!

And a single week of camp is totally going to make sure all those girls will never learn how to form working relationships with boys! Can you believe that? A single week without any males around!? Preposterous! I suggest we surgically attach every single girl to a boy of equal age, that'll make sure there's proper communication between the genders right quick and bring us equality before you can even say "What is this? I don't even...". [/sarcasm]

And reading comprehension much?

Hagi:
And there's still more then a few countries in which the whole "women are the weaker sex, to be ruled by men" is very much alive.

Does that sound like I'm talking about first world countries?

This is a really great idea. I would love working alongside young women.

Hagi:

Because a "just for boys" camp would get slaughtered in the press we have to go out and slaughter a "just for girls" camp? Yeah... that makes sense....

Reductio ad absurdum and strawman.

I'm saying that an Engineering Camp story should go through the press because of its teachers skill, and the benefits it will bring, not just the unisex nature of it.

Every bad thing that happens to our gender we'll just return full-force!

Strawman hysteria.

We demand equal discrimination and limitations!

You're not arguing here, you're repeating hysterical claims. I was asking for equal opportunities.

If there was a clue that the reason that Antigone Sharris felt uncomfortable with boys and girls together? Not a problem. When the article(s) are weighted that "POAR WIMEN DESERVE MOAR STUF BECOZ THEY DON'T GET ENUF", then it's a problem. For one, because I believe Antigone came from Yugoslavia to serve in the American Military without the "helping male hand" that you seem determined to give her.

And reading comprehension much?

I believe you meant "You seem to lack reading comprehension."

Does that sound like I'm talking about first world countries?

Then it has no relevance to your original statement other than a false implication that the first world should make up for the third world. Which I retorted to.

As she says

Antigone Sharris:
My best advice is: avoid negativity, don't listen to anyone negative. If they say "you can't," tune them out and say "yes I can," and show them that almost anything is possible if you work hard at it.

Ariseishirou:

But you know what would be apples to apples? A nursing camp for boys. Or an early education camp for boys. Male nurses and elementary school teachers are in high demand, yet socially discouraged from these careers. That would definitely be a worthwhile effort.

Precisely.

Girls are already:
-doing better than boys in school gradewise
-more girls are in honors classes in both math and sciences than male students
-girls have a higher graduation rate from highschool
-girls attend and do better in college than male students
-women now outnumber men in the workforce.

Boys outnumber girls in suicides and in amount of drop outs from high school and college.

The gap is growing every year in all of those areas too, so yes, getting onto someone asking for a boy's only class or orginaztion focused on education is wrong and misled. It's all because of the attitude that girls are some how still put down by some mysterious patriarchal system. Some colleges are even thinking of a "gender quota" because they get so few guys applying to them.

Boys are lagging behind in all areas of science and math and they get worse every year, they are the ones that need special programs to get them into stuff like this. It's not "Anti woman" to say boys need special attention the same way girls did when THEY were the ones struggling and outdone in school and college performance.

And before anyone asks, here's the sources:
School performance
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/yourview/1531930/Why-do-boys-perform-so-much-worse-than-girls-in-exams.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/andrew-cunningham-why-girls-do-so-much-better-than-boys-435426.html

Honors classes
http://waylandstudentpress.com/2011/05/13/gender-gap-appears-in-honors-courses/

graduation rates
http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/cr_48.htm

College performance
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/03/27/admit

workforce
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/18/AR2010011803834.html

Suicides and dropouts
http://www.livescience.com/5505-society-ignoring-boy-problems.html

Is it wrong that the first thing I thought of when I read "Gadget Camp" was the possibility of a summer camp that installed helicopter rotors in your head and skates in your feet?

OT, this sounds excellent. We need more technically minded womenz in the world. My wife is the daughter of a guy who is flown to oil rigs all over the world to fix them, and he has a natural penchant for tinkering with everything, and she adopted it growing up. So now, when our washing machine or car or whatever breaks down, she fixes it right up.

She even fixed a red ringed 360 that I threw against the door in a rage.

I was all.. O_O.... "I love you."

The_root_of_all_evil:
[snip]

You missed these:

Hagi:
[/sarcasm]

I was making fun of the ridiculous idea that seemed to be behind your post that if something isn't allowed for boys then it also shouldn't be allowed for girls.

Negative media attention about "boys only" camps existing does not somehow make it a good thing to give negative attention to "girls only" camps.
Female-only professions increasing does not somehow make male-only professions decreasing a bad thing.

Just because discrimination happens to men does not mean we should attempt to hijack any attempt to stop discrimination against women. It means we should set up our own attempts alongside those of women. That's what equality is about, not turning everything into a uniform blob, but accepting our differences and living with each other peacefully and respectfully.

If you want my serious view on this read my earlier post:

Hagi:
Because gender roles exist.

I'm well aware that for the most part they shouldn't. That they're a bad thing and shouldn't be encouraged. But reality is that they do exist, and we have to live with that.

In a single-sex environment it's much easier to let go of useless gender roles then it is in a normal environment as in a single-sex environment everyone is letting go of their gender roles while in a normal environment it's just, in this case, the girls while the boys are doing exactly what their gender role says, engineering.

This will just demotivate all the girls as they don't want to appear the weird ones not filling their gender role while the boys are acting normal, and yes these gender roles do exist among children. I'm sure you noticed at your school as well that in certain activities there was much less motivation from either boys or girls to enthusiastically participate in a that activity.

Of course you could hold a summer camp in which the girls are all doing engineering activities while the boys are all doing fashion design, that would work. But it's not really a very effective way of holding a summer camp.

Gethsemani:

bakan:

Gethsemani:

Because science, engineering and related fields are traditionally male areas of interest and work. Girl to a much larger extent than boys are told by society that they can't (whatever it is because of biological or social reasons) work in these fields or are actively discouraged because they are seen as "men only" jobs. Letting these girls go at it in a girls-only enviroment lets them try it out without the interference of socially created gender roles and is thus more likely to enthuse them (if they like these things) to later get an education and a career in these fields.

You know, this attitude is why you have a lot of girls-only activities nowadays.
In my opinion schools have to begin with equally teaching boys and girls in every aspect and my school did this - though with some exceptions.
We had activities for nearly everything together as long as the interest was there and the teacher was able to motivate enough people.
So in the end these gender-only activities aren't any good as they favor a specific group and will lead to envy and separation.

The problem runs deeper than that, it has to do with social expectations, gender roles and peer pressure. But I think that falls a bit outside of this topic. Look up my posts in the R&P sectio on the wage gap to see a more in depth explanation of these problems.

The thing is, we're all exposed to pressure and expectations constantly. If we just blindly followed them, how would we be better than animals, living on instinct and social urges? I don't really mind the idea of a girls-only engineering camp, but still, people should be expected to have responsibility for their lives, instead of 'peer-pressure-made-me-do-it'.

I just... tend to think that people should be expected to overcome social expectations and pressures, rather than have them removed for their convenience. We should at least have the willpower to be able to do that.

Why didn't this exist for me... :S

bakan:
Hmm...I guess it is good for the girls, but there are already science camps why not advertise them a bit more (/change their focus) and let boys and girls have fun together?

That sentence came out wrong.

Hagi:

Of course you could hold a summer camp in which the girls are all doing engineering activities while the boys are all doing fashion design, that would work. But it's not really a very effective way of holding a summer camp.

Rather than just most effective, I would actively hate that. The girls get the interesting, mechanical/electrical side of things, ans I get dumped drawing suit designs? I see how this may apply the other way around as well, but fashion is an area dead to me, and just isn't essential for any society, whereas science and engineering are.
In the meantime, I want more writers camps here in the UK.

I really like this idea, you really have to get hands-on with engineering to experience it, but is it really necessary to split the students by sex to avoid gender role stuff?

I went to a specialist science school, we were taught in mixed classes and it was made abundantly clear to us that we were all expected to become scientists or engineers. The girls weren't taught embroidery and childbirth positions, they held their own with us gleefully. Well, no they didn't because they tended not to like chemistry and stuff, but the girls that got into it kept up easily.

This kind of comes off like that Simpsons episode where Lisa storms into a football team saying 'that's right, a girl wants to play', only to discover there were already several girls on the team.

bakan:
Hmm...I guess it is good for the girls, but there are already science camps why not advertise them a bit more (/change their focus) and let boys and girls have fun together?

In a perfect world, science camps would be adequate, but the reason why we have institutions or groups aimed at exclusively serving the marginalised groups is because this isn't a perfect world and there are marginalised groups in the first place. There probably should be a larger proportion of women in engineering. These camps should probably exist to address this imbalance.

Da Orky Man:

Hagi:

Of course you could hold a summer camp in which the girls are all doing engineering activities while the boys are all doing fashion design, that would work. But it's not really a very effective way of holding a summer camp.

Rather than just most effective, I would actively hate that. The girls get the interesting, mechanical/electrical side of things, ans I get dumped drawing suit designs? I see how this may apply the other way around as well, but fashion is an area dead to me, and just isn't essential for any society, whereas science and engineering are.
In the meantime, I want more writers camps here in the UK.

You could replace the fashion design with any female dominated industry. Nursing and elementary/middle school teaching would be prime examples of female dominated industries that are essential to any society.

Main point is that you need to create an environment where everyone is breaking gender roles. If just half are breaking them then that half will likely feel hesitant, shy and demotivated, especially since it can be expected that they'll have much less experience with the subject at hand.

And if you want normal engineering camps there's 9 other camps this foundation is organizing that don't seem to be girls-only here, and even if those happen to be girls-only there's thousands of summer camps out there, bound to be one that has what you're looking for with the environment you're looking for.

According to Sharris, a camp that teaches these skills is necessary because, "Not letting your children learn the hands-on component of the theory of science is killing us as a nation. You have to stop giving kids books and start giving them tools."

Damn straight. You can read about something mechanical in a book till your eyes pop out, but until you actually turn a wrench, you won't learn it.

I'm in favor of this camp. A girl who can work on her own car is miles more attractive than whatever set of fake tits Hollywood can shove in my face. I'd rather do the greasemonkey.

The_root_of_all_evil:
I'll get angry if I write much, but a engineering camp "just for boys" would get slaughtered in the press.

So we build a camp that helps to reinforce the idea of a "female engineer", putting one group of people above another.

Remind me - all you white knights - among Chicago low-privileged young people, does the idea that "women are the weaker sex, to be ruled by men" hold true? Is it not that both genders are desperately fighting for work to get free of the poverty, drugs and degradation in a first world country?

If we're aiming for equality, why are the amount of male-only professions/meeting places being wiped out, while the female-only professions/meeting places already above the male-only, and are increasing?

Not to mention that one of the first things the girls are going to need knowledge of is other boys, so they can form a working relationship.

By delineating the genders constantly, all you're doing is widening the gap.

Take an idea like this, make it countrywide, get Ford or someone to sponsor it and give it to ALL the people. Not just the unprivileged few.

Judging the third world is for the third world to do. Not us.

The argument is an all-male engineering camp would be redundant, because engineering camps skew heavily towards male participation. I have no idea if that is true, but the camp leaders probably have a decent grasp on the demographics of their other camps.

While I appreciate and support educational endeavors like this, the title of this article sounds... wrong, somehow.

I will say, as a male in advanced courses, and someone who went to an engineering summer camp,

It sure was a sausage fest.

This only this sex is the dumbist thing that came about. Congrade your teaching them something they will fail at becuase they become unable to work around the oppisite sex. There is an all girls Collage near me. So far no one in the area will hire from there becuase the women are unable to handle the real world. If you teach they are diffrant they will think they are and act as such.

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