To get more girls “engaged in engineering,” Georgia-Pacific has been lending a hand to the GEE (Girls Engaged in Engineering) initiative in Crossett, Arkansas. Through its Crossett plant, Georgia-Pacific provides products and volunteers to Crossett Middle School for the GEE project, which gives female students the chance to study engineering concepts and apply them through hands-on learning.
Led by GEE founder and teacher Charre Todd, who spends many weekends with the students, the program centers on activities like creating dresses from toilet paper to apply math skills, and modeling asphalt with “no-bake” chocolate cookies, illustrating civil engineering concepts. According to Todd, programs like GEE help students understand more of what engineering entails and inspires them to consider careers in an industry where women are underrepresented. But if you ask the students why they come, Todd is quick to point out the main reason they give: “Because it’s fun!
Lou Gregorio, principal of Crossett Middle School adds, “We’re fortunate to have a partnership with Georgia-Pacific. To us the benefit is two-fold: They support our GEE program which gives students opportunities to see and apply science concepts, and it also helps them see how the community gives to us as a school.”
According to The White House, developing world-class talent in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is critical to America’s global leadership. To help achieve this goal, it is imperative to create and nurture a diverse scientific community that draws from an array of unique experiences and viewpoints. In discussing STEM, President Barack Obama said, “One of the things that I really strongly believe in is that we need to have more girls interested in math, science, and engineering. We’ve got half the population that is way underrepresented in those fields and that means that we’ve got a whole bunch of talent…not being encouraged the way they need to.”