Sweet Briar College hopes to inspire high school girls to pursue engineering

These high school girls are learning all about engineering at a weeklong at Sweet Briar College (Photo: Katie Brooke)

AMHERST Co., Va. (WSET) - Right now high school girls from all over the country are at Sweet Briar College learning all about engineering.

Sweet Briar is one of only two women's colleges in the country to offer an ABET accredited engineering degree even though it’s a male dominated profession, but it's not stopping these high school students. "Not necessarily turned off or drawn away from it just because there are more males or there are other people that won't want to necessarily agree with me, I'm not necessarily afraid,” said rising senior Madeleine Paulsen.

"I realized a couple years ago that I wanted to blow things up for a living, and I figured engineering was a good way to get there," said rising junior, Rose Murphy.

Assistant Professor of Engineering at Sweet Briar College, Kaelyn Leake says she went into engineering because it's way to help people and she enjoys taking things apart and putting them back together.

"If you want a product to work for men and you want a product to work for women, and you want something to work across demographics and things like that, you need as many viewpoints as you can to have that thing work," said Leake.

But she says it's an option a lot of girls don't think of. "Making it in a way that girls realize, hey engineering isn't just sitting in a cubicle all the time," she said.

That's why Leake has devoted this week to helping 17 rising juniors and seniors develop their passion.

Like Bre Rogers who’s in from Atlanta. She says she wants to be a biomedical engineer.

"Going into this field I feel like I want to be able to prove, be able to prove to men, and not only to just men, but society that women can do anything that men can do truly," said Rogers.

Sweet Briar said the week long summer camps are very successful for their recruiting of new students.

Normally close to half of the students pursue engineering after the camp and many of the girls end up attending Sweet Briar.

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