TEA event to promote tech majors

Instructors at Missouri Southern have noticed an alarming trend, and they are working to reverse it.

Nationwide, only approximately 20 percent of bachelor’s degrees in engineering are earned by females.

To combat that statistic, Dr. Elke Howe, associate professor of engineering technology, Dr. Marsi Archer, professor of physical science, and Dr. Linda Hand, professor of mathematics, are putting on an event they’re calling Mother-Daughter TEA.

“When you hear it first, you probably think of a tea event, as in drinking hot tea and having some nice finger sandwiches and just having some social interaction,” Howe said. “But it’s actually more about technology and engineering. The T stands for technology, E, engineering, and then A, aptitude. So it’s a technology engineering aptitude event. So what we’re trying to do is we’re wanting to interest moms and teenage girls into the professions that have to do with science, math, engineering and technology.”

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, in the Billingsly Student Center, room 309.

The event, which will include a provided lunch, will cost $5 per person, and the early registration deadline is today.

According to Howe, fliers for the event have been distributed throughout area high schools, as well as on Southern’s campus, and the fliers serve as registration forms.

“Unfortunately, a lot of girls think those types of careers are not for them,” Howe said. “And they can just as easily be engineers as males can be, so we want to open their eyes and their minds to those type of careers.”

Interested persons may call (417) 625-9766 with questions or for late registration.

 Howe, Archer and Hand have organized several activities for the teams of mothers and daughters, including prize giveaways and an exercise where attendees will have to work together to build something.

“It’s actually a national conversation that there’s not a lot of girls in the professions of science, math, engineering and technology,” Howe said. “And there’s lots of programs nationwide where universities, school systems, even the legislators, are trying to get girls into those careers, just to make the country overall more competitive … Here in engineering technology right now we have a couple women only. So for some reason, girls don’t consider those kinds of majors.”