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OU Engineering Hosts Learning Event for Middle School Girls

April 10, 2023

OU Engineering Hosts Learning Event for Middle School Girls

Two girls working on STEM project at GLAMS eventOver 100 middle school girls attended the biannual GLAMS event on March 31 at the University of Oklahoma. The GLAMS program – Girls Learning and Applying Math and Science – introduces girls to the engineering field through activities led by OU Engineering students.

Inspired by the Star Wars saga, the girls studied six types of engineering: biomedical, mechanical, civil, electrical, computer and engineering physics. Star Wars themes – Midichlorians and Mitochondria, Under Pressure, The Force: Magnets and Other Attractive Things and Cool Circuits – were used to convey complex engineering procedures and designs.

In 2011, OU Engineering created the program specifically for middle school girls.

“Students start thinking about their career track as early as middle school. So, middle school is a prime time to engage girls in STEM and engineering as a potential pathway for school and their career,” said Dominique Pittenger, Ph.D., director of the college’s Women in Engineering program.

“This event lets young women connect with OU Engineering students where they learn what engineers do and where the engineering path can take them. GLAMS is an impactful and useful group in today’s society,” she said.  

Sponsored by OG&E, about 50 OU engineering students worked with the students to boost the number of women studying engineering – currently, OU Engineering passes the national average of female engineering, having 25% representation. 

Inviting young women to explore STEM fields is a passion for Andrea Dennis, vice president of transmission and distribution operations at OG&E. 

“OU GLAMS is a unique opportunity for girls across the state to get hands-on engineering experience, and we hope it inspires many of them to pursue a future career in STEM. At OG&E, we believe that bringing more women into STEM careers will further energize the energy industry, and we appreciate our partners at OU for allowing us to sponsor and volunteer at this event,” Dennis said.

Attending the daylong activity were Norman Public Schools' students from Alcott, Irving, Longfellow and Whittier middle schools, and Purcell Jr. Middle School. Paul Wollenberg teaches STEM courses through Oklahoma CareerTech. He says this is the third year for Purcell Public Schools to participate in GLAMS and that attendance has doubled in the three years he has been involved.

“GLAMS is an outstanding event that lets our female students realize how many different engineering careers exist and how they can use their skills and interests to build an education path,” Wollenberg said. “GLAMS builds their confidence in knowing that they can be successful and lets them know there are many opportunities.” 

About OG&E: Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of OGE Energy Corp. (NYSE: OGE), is Oklahoma's largest electric company. For more than a century, we have provided customers in Oklahoma and western Arkansas the safe, reliable electricity needed to power their businesses and homes with some of the nation's lowest electric rates, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Our employees are committed to generating and delivering electricity, protecting the environment, and providing excellent service to approximately 882,000 customers. OG&E has 7,207 MW of electric generation capacity fueled by natural gas, wind, low-sulfur coal, and solar. OG&E employees live, work, and volunteer in the communities we serve. 

About the Gallogly College of Engineering: Engineering has been part of the University of Oklahoma since 1908. Today, the Gallogly College of Engineering is organized into seven schools and is one of the largest colleges on the Norman campus. 

By Lorene A. Roberson, Gallogly College of Engineering