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June 16, 2005

Nitsch Engineering Hosts "Introduce a Girl to Engineering" Day

– Nitsch Engineering, a Boston-based civil engineering, land surveying, traffic engineering, and planning firm, recently hosted its 4th annual "Introduce A Girl to Engineering" Day. More than 80 participants – the most attendees in the Boston event's history – took part in the half-day session at the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) office in Boston.

Forty-three 6th to 12th grade girls had fun with engineering by building geodesic domes out of gumdrops and toothpicks, touring DCAM's newly renovated John Adams Courthouse, and participating in an engineering scavenger hunt in DCAM's offices. The day also included an introduction to engineering, a presentation on structural engineering, activities for the girls' parents, and a pizza lunch and awards ceremony.

One of the event highlights was a panel discussion about engineering from students' perspectives. Nicole Holmes, a Project Designer at Nitsch Engineering, moderated the panel, which was made up of women at various stages in their engineering careers. Eliana Wallack, a high-school sophomore interning at Nitsch Engineering, and Laurel Williams, a high-school senior who plans to pursue an engineering degree at college in the fall, offered relevant information as past attendees of Nitsch Engineering's "Introduce A Girl to Engineering" Day.

The panel was rounded out by current students and engineers, who offered their advice. Elizabeth Schroth-Nichols, a Nitsch Engineering co-op student from Northeastern University, provided the perspective of a current engineering student. Chelsea Falion, a graduate of Northeastern and a Project Designer at Nitsch Engineering, and Jennifer McClain, PE, a graduate of MIT and Tufts University, and a structural engineer at Weidlinger Associates, Inc., offered their views as women in the field.

By hearing about specific experiences in the field of engineering and the paths that these women took to get where they are today, attendees were able to see engineering as a viable career choice and learn how to prepare for it.

"I am proud to have participated in another Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day hosted by Nitsch Engineering," said Nicole Holmes. "As a woman engineer, I am honored to have the opportunity to reach out to girls and expose them to the exciting world of engineering. Many girls are not exposed to engineering in their homes or at school, and it's a wonderful feeling to know you may have helped spark a career interest in a young, ambitious girl."

One of Judith Nitsch's goals has been to raise awareness and educate others about the role that women play in engineering. Judy serves as a mentor to the female engineers in her firm, and is proud of the fact that 36% of her firm's engineers are female; the industry standard is 11% (www.swe.org). "Introduce a Girl to Engineering" Day is an important part of the effort that Judy and the other women engineers at Nitsch Engineering make to act as role models and educational resources to other women. They are so passionate about their work and educating students about their career choices, they've already begun working on next year's program!

 

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