The National Science Foundation grant will be used to study the attitudes of approximately 350 seventh-grade girls from all across the country as they compete in a national robotics competition, said Jerry Weinberg, project coordinator and engineering professor at SIUE.Weinberg
said the project looks at ways of sparking female interest in the male dominated science, math, engineering and technological fields.
"We believe if the girls actually see they have the abilities to do these types of things and be good at them, then they'll become more interested in pursuing science or math related fields," he
and a team of psychology experts will examine 34 national teams participating in the KISS Institute
Botball Program, including four in the metro-east.Twenty-two of the teams will be mixed gender and the other 12 will be all girls.He
selected seventh-grade because that is the time when students begin to map out their career goals.Girls do as well as boys in science and math classes in grade school, but some lose confidence in their own abilities around this time, he
Thomas and Weinberg
said they hope the study can produce models that can be adapted in schools across the country to increase female interest in these fields.