Women's Technology Program

Cynthia Skier, WTP director

This summer marked the eighth year of the Women’s Technology Program (WTP) in EECS. Forty participants are selected each year from an applicant pool of the top 11th grade female students from across the U.S. WTP-EECS students live on campus for four weeks and take rigorous hands-on lab based college level classes in electrical engineering, computer science, and discrete mathematics, all designed and taught by a dedicated staff of MIT graduate and undergraduate women students.

WTP students engaged in a project in the electrical engineering lab, summer 2009.

WTP students engaged in a project in the electrical engineering lab, summer 2009.

We choose participants who are not yet certain about their future college majors—girls who are excelling in math and science but are not yet seriously considering engineering or computer science as a future direction. WTP gives them the opportunity to explore these fields in a collaborative atmosphere with female role models. They work in teams to solve problems, create and build engineering projects, and learn about some of the exciting research being done at MIT.

We have been tracking our alumnae over time to assess the impact of WTP on the choice of college majors. Of the 201 WTP-EECS alumnae with declared college majors, 62% are in a field of engineering or computer science! In addition, 110 (41%) of WTP-EECS alumnae have come back to MIT.

Our alumnae frequently cite WTP as the experience that sparked their interest in engineering. We recently contacted women who attended WTP in 2004 and learned what they are doing after completing their Bachelor’s degrees in June 2009. Here is a small sample:

“I will be finishing up a mechanical engineering B.S. from University of California Davis in December 2009, with a minor in Global and International Studies. This summer I have an internship as a Project Engineer Intern for Chevron Energy Solution, a division of Chevron. I still have my motor I made at WTP sitting on my desk!” — Sarah Kinzli, UC Davis 2009, Mechanical Engineering

“Whenever I’ve had to write code these past four years, I always thought back to my first time coding – learning Java in WTP. I’ll be working for Merck & Co. in New Jersey in September.”
Xin He, MIT Class of 2009, Chemical Engineering

“I will be working at Westinghouse in Windsor, CT doing structural analysis on nuclear power plants. I will also be entering Harvard Business School in 2011. WTP was a wonderful start to my MIT experience and I’m sure this year’s students will enjoy the program as much as I did!”
Allison Dee, MIT Class of 2009, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Please visit the WTP website for more information, and we welcome your help encouraging high school women to apply for summer 2010.

— Anna Goldie, MIT Class of 2009, EECS

— Anna Goldie, MIT Class of 2009, EECS

“I am working on a social robotics internship in Japan, and I will return to MIT EECS in September to start my MEng thesis (a natural language dialogue system to practice bargaining skills in Mandarin Chinese). WTP helped me to discover my interest in computer science and natural language processing!” — Anna Goldie, MIT Class of 2009, EECS

— Rachel Chaney, MIT Class of 2009, EECS

— Rachel Chaney, MIT Class of 2009, EECS

“I am staying here at MIT to get my Masters of Engineering in EECS. My thesis professor is Professor Steve Leeb, who taught our WTP Motor Building Project. My experience at WTP encouraged me to pursue an education in Electrical Engineering, and also gave me a foot in the door finding a professor to supervise my thesis project.” “I am staying here at MIT to get my Masters of Engineering in EECS. My thesis professor is Professor Steve Leeb, who taught our WTP Motor Building Project. My experience at WTP encouraged me to pursue an education in Electrical Engineering, and also gave me a foot in the door finding a professor to supervise my thesis project.” — Rachel Chaney, MIT Class of 2009, EECS

3 Responses to “Women's Technology Program”

  1. Betty Lane says:

    Hi, I just wanted to say I really appreciate what your doing for these young girls. Thanks!

  2. Terry says:

    This WTP is a great way to guide students on their way to higher education. I even recommend that this type of program should be adopted by the department of education as a standard program for all schools in all states. There has been a massive waste of talent in the US due simply to the fact that a high school graduate is not given enough exposure to facts and information on carriers that they may take. As a result many have chosen the wrong courses where they usually fail to excel and failing to take the courses where they should have excelled and have contributed much to the country.

  3. Brenda says:

    This is a great chance for women out there that they have a role to play in the society aside from being mothers or sisters. They can be a solid foundation towards advance technologies. I must say that I am an avid supporter of this post. Congratulations!

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