Cool camp highlights engineering for grade school girls

The Girls@VV Club, which is a weekend club run through the Faculty of Engineering and Design's Virtual Ventures program. The Girls@VV Club is designed to give girls hands-on experience with engineering and technology - such as computer-related activities and engaging engineering projects. Chris Roussakis Photo

Christina Wang spent her Saturday at Carleton University building remote control cars, programming it on a computer and using Bluetooth wireless communication to control them – all among other girls her age.

“I can make new friends,” says Wang, 11. “But I also have a better sense of engineering.”

Wang was part of a group of girls from grades 4 to 8 who took part in the One project involved the girls working with Lego robotics in a program led by Mawuena Torkornoo from the Faculty of Engineering and Design.

“The wonderful thing about Girls@VV is that girls always build a sense of self-confidence when they realize they can build things,” says Torkornoo. “And, we give girls a sense of what it means to be an engineer.”

She says that Girls@VV was started to help girls thrive in a comfortable environment where they can apply their knowledge in math and sciences.

“It’s about taking science and math, and having fun through hands-on activities,” she says.

She adds that Carleton’s world-class Faculty of Engineering and Design has had success in supporting girls who want a career in engineering.

The faculty has been involved in attracting girls to engineering and design through other programs including a badge day for Girl Guides and Pathfinders, as well as Go ENG Girl – which is an opportunity for female students in grades 7 to 10 and their parents to learn about careers in engineering.

As an engineering graduate, Torkornoo says that she’s particularly proud to see girls succeed during the programs.

“The girls program is very close to my heart,” she says. “The faculty is very supportive of having more females involved in engineering. Girls can do it, and they thrive at it when they have that passion.”

Torkornoo adds that it is also important to teach all youth about science and engineering, and how the studies can be applied in everyday life.

“We’re surrounded by engineering and technology, from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed,” she says. “Having that knowledge gives you a sense of empowerment.”

For more information on Girls@VV and the Virtual Ventures program, visit:

This entry was written by Kristy Strauss and posted in the issue. Tags applied to this article are: . Leave a comment, bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media:

Kristy Strauss

By Kristy Strauss

Kristy Strauss graduated from Carleton's journalism program in 2009. She is a regular contributor to Carleton Now. She has worked as a reporter for the Kemptville Advance. She currently reports for EMC Ottawa South.

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