The MIT News Office’s Melanie Gonick profiled WTP.
For about sixty 11th grade female math and science students, the past summer was no vacation. The students spent part of June and most of July living in MIT dorms and participating in the MIT Women’s Technology Program (WTP), a demanding four-week academic experience where female high school students explore engineering through hands-on classes, labs, and team projects.
WTP is designed for young women who excel in math and science, but have minimal experience in engineering. The program, which is directed by MIT alumna Cynthia Skier ’74, received more than 400 applicants nationwide in 2015.
“We deliberately pick in the application process students who do not already know they want to be engineers,” says assistant director Barbara Hughley PhD ’89. “We want students who have been exposed to math and science but haven’t been exposed to engineering. It’s fascinating to see their views on engineering change.”
Female MIT graduate students design and teach the classes, with assistance from female MIT undergraduate students, who live in the dorm with the students during the program. The daily schedule includes classes, labs, and daily homework.
“When the girls get exposed to different role models, plus the actual material itself, they get excited about the potential and start to see that they may be able to be in this field one day,” says program instructor Angela Yen ’10, MEng ’11. “And that’s main goal of WTP. We’re spreading the message of how wonderful the opportunities are in engineering and science.”
The WTP application process for 2016 begins and late November and closes on January 1, 2016. For more information on the program, visit wtp.mit.edu/.