DuBois engineering students introduce youth to career options

Penn State students at ‘Girls Exploring Engineering Day’

Left to right, students Alena Keen, Nicolette Bossard, and Linsea Paradis represented Penn State DuBois Engineering programs at the ‘Girls Exploring Engineering Day’ event hosted at the NCPA LaunchBox.

Credit: Steve Harmic

DuBOIS, Pa. – Three students from Penn State DuBois engineering programs had the chance to share their passion for work in their field with a group of around 30 high school students at an event hosted at the NCPA LaunchBox in Downtown DuBois on Feb. 24.

Organized by the Community Education Center (CEC) of Elk and Cameron Counties, current Penn State DuBois engineering students Nicolette Bossard and Alena Keen, as well as engineering graduate and current University Park graduate student Linsea Paradis, were chosen to speak and guide hands-on exercises at the "Girls Exploring Engineering Day" event. Girls in grades 9-12 at all high schools in Cameron, Clearfield, Elk and Jefferson Counties were invited to participate.

“This is intended to introduce girls to engineering because we want them to see that there are career options for them in a field that is historically made up of men,” explained event organizer Amy Goode of the CEC. “We want them to see that there is room in engineering fields for women, and that there are so many different types of engineering that it can offer something to fit almost every interest.”

Professional women from a variety of engineering fields including bio-medical, design, and environmental, provided virtual presentations before the Penn State students offered an in-person program. During the hands-on portion, Penn State students guided the high schoolers in designing and building a prosthetic leg out of provided materials utilizing the engineering design process. 

“We want to help girls identify what types of engineering they might be interested in and what the process is that you need to begin to become an engineer,” Paradis said. “We went through the engineering design process, and they got to see how it works in a real-world project.”

Bossard added, “I think having a female in engineering to look up to is really good for these girls. It can be intimidating to look into a male-dominated field. It feels good to be able to inspire them.”

Keen agreed, saying, “It’s great to give them the opportunity to speak with someone who is already in their college career in an engineering program and for them to get advice from someone that’s already doing it.”

This program was made possible through partnerships between the CEC of Elk and Cameron Counties, Penn State DuBois Continuing and Community Education, the North Central PA LaunchBox, Women in Manufacturing, Workforce Solutions, and the Northwest Industrial Resource Center. 

To learn more about both two and four-year engineering programs available at Penn State DuBois, and the career opportunities graduates qualify for, visit https://dubois.psu.edu/academic-options-engineering or contact Admissions at 814-375-4720 or [email protected].

Penn State DuBois awards approximately $500,000 in scholarships to students each year. Virtually all Penn State DuBois students qualify for financial aid. Learn more from the Office of Financial Aid at Penn State DuBois.