Nina Welding | May 23, 2019
Building bridges, building relationships and building for the future all start with solid foundations, like the fundamental knowledge and problem-solving skills being developed through the Building Relationships to Inspire and Drive Girls to pursue Engineering and Science (BRIDGES) program.
A partnership between the University of Notre Dame’s Kinetic Structures Laboratory and Riley High School, BRIDGES targets girls, grades 9-12, who are enrolled in the technology and engineering magnet at Riley. This before-school enrichment program was developed by Ashley P. Thrall, the Myron and Rosemary Noble Associate Professor of Structural Engineering, as part of her National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program award. The program is run in collaboration with Kristen Haubold, a Riley faculty member. Graduate students Yao Wang and Mirela Tumbeva lead and implement the program.
BRIDGES, which began in September 2014, has continued to grow each year. Twenty high school girls currently participate. “One of the educational goals of my NSF CAREER award,” says Thrall, “was to increase the participation and retention of women in STEM. I’m working toward this goal through various interventions at the middle school, high school and undergraduate and graduate student levels. The program is unique in that it enables sustained interaction with high school women from freshman through senior year, fostering an environment for friendships and mentoring, which is so important.”
Read more here.