Friday, November 18, 2011
I recently came up with what I thought was interesting event idea. Our Dean of Engineering had expressed some interest in CU-WISE coming up with an idea for a recruitment event that would attract the media and encourage high school girls to consider choosing Carleton in their upcoming university applications. I haven't heard back from the Dean so I am not sure if this event will happen, but I thought I'd share the idea in case it helped any of you come up with your own.
The proposed premise is to be honest about what it’s like to be a woman in science or engineering. This begins as something that comes across as negative as we share the common challenges faced by students and others, but the idea is to show how a group like CU-WISE and all the other awesome things that Carleton does turns this all around. It is a risk to do anything negative at all (and it needs to be approached in just the right way), but there are two good reasons for this approach:
- It will build trust in the students we want to reach as well as their parents. All schools are trying to sell themselves as a product, but how many are willing to be honest about the situation? It’s the elephant in the room, and our audience should appreciate our ability to discuss it in the open.
- To attract the media, your approach has to be different. Sure, maybe you’d get a bit of air time for the usual outreach events, but they tend to be fairly similar to each other. Being willing to talk about these issues is not something that’s very common.
The dessert reception should include something to please both the parents (who are big influencers to their children’s choices) and the students. Offering beer and wine, if affordable, shows we are thinking of the former, and having cupcakes, cake pops, and milkshakes or smoothies for the girls should thrill the latter.
The main format of the event would be to have a short talk at the beginning to discuss the challenges faced by women in science and engineering and how CU-WISE and other Carleton initiatives help. This would be followed by a structured networking opportunity where parents and students would speak with current students, alumni, and faculty. Finally, hands-on demo and other info booths would be available during the last segment, when casual networking would take place. Dessert could be served in both of the last two segments or just at the end.
|20 minutes||Talk: The Truth About Women in Science and Engineering|
(One or two guest speakers, depending on whether it will be joint between Engineering and Science)
|As explained earlier, this is an opportunity to talk about the elephant in the room and build trust with both the parents and the students. It is also an opportunity to showcase how CU-WISE helps by providing a support network and other great initiatives to Carleton students so they know they can expect to be able to overcome the challenges at Carleton.|
|40 minutes||Structured Networking:||Students
appreciate the opportunity to see what life is like for current
students, what kinds of jobs they can expect if they get through the
program, and who will be teaching them. This makes coming to university
much less intimidating, and if they find themselves connecting with any
of these people, they are more likely to remember Carleton favourably
as a place they could see themselves studying at.|
If possible, we may even be able to ask participants to tell us what programs they are applying for, and pre-match the tables they visit so they are able to speak to at least some people from that program or, at least, faculty.
|60 minutes||Demo and Info Booths||Besides the usual reasons for having hands-on demos (engagement, etc), they implicitly show the success of women at Carleton. This continues to follow the theme on the Truth of Women in Science and Engineering in that we see what awesome things women here are really doing.|