Girls Rock Science: Educating Girls about STEM-Related Careers

Statistics show that though women make up 50 percent of the U.S. workforce, they hold only 25 percent of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) related jobs.

In October last year, Western Pennsylvania's largest employers participated in "Girls Rock Science," an event in Pittsburgh hosted by KDKA and the Carnegie Science Center designed to get girls excited about STEM careers.

The employers hosted interactive and information booths. They answered questions about their mission and careers, and offered girls the chance to learn through hands-on displays and activities.

Kids playing at the Planning Department’s interactive transportation game, teaching them about the complete streets model, and the positive changes that occur to the air and cities when we offer car, bike, and pedestrian-friendly models. Photo by Akshali Gandhi, City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning.

The City of Pittsburgh was well represented:

  • The Department of City Planning had an interactive transportation game that teaches young people about the complete streets model, and the positive changes that occur to the air and cities when we offer car, bike, and pedestrian-friendly models.
  • The Department of Public Works offered a display of the technology used by architect to create building plans and models.
  • The Fire Bureau brought a team and allowed families to get an up close look at a fire truck.
  • The Police Bureau and Police personnel assigned to the Office of Municipal Investigations were represented by the Bomb Squad and the Mobile Crime Unit. Children and adults got to experience a little of what takes place on a crime scene and wear the bomb suit.
  • The Department of Personnel and Civil Service Commission offered information and literature on youth programming throughout the city department.

Staff with Pittsburgh’s City Planning Department teach kids about the complete street model at the Girls Rock Science event. Photo by Akshali Gandhi, City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning.

It was a great opportunity for the city to share information with the public about all that we do, and to demonstrate how the city’s workforce includes women in professional positions and STEM related careers.

After the initial event in October, the city planning department also expanded its youth outreach by leading a tour of downtown Pittsburgh in May to middle and high school girls in collaboration with the Carnegie Science Museum's Tour Your Future program to get girls excited about careers in transportation planning.

Akshali Gandhi leads a tour of downtown transportation infrastructure for teenage girls.  Photo by Toni Smith, Carnegie Science Center.

The Kids Planning Toolbox is an ongoing series aimed at highlighting the way kids and teens are being involved in planning in their communities. Its goal is to inspire adults to think about how they can help the kids in their communities become the planners of tomorrow!

To learn more about the APA Ambassadors program visit www.planning.org/ambassadors/ and follow #APAAmbassadors.

Top image: Staff from various departments at the City of Pittsburgh attended the Girls Rock Science event. Photo by Amanda Neatrour, City of Pittsburgh Department of Personnel.


About the Author

Akshali Gandhi is an APA Ambassador and transportation planner with the City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning. Amanda Neatrour is with the City of Pittsburgh Department of Personnel.


June 23, 2016

By Akshali Gandhi