Journeys: Teenage Women Embracing Science and Engineering

IEEE Computer Society Team
Published 05/30/2024
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Teenage Women Embracing Science and EngineeringWomen’s participation in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), has historically been underrepresented. However, universities, such as University Center of the Valles at the University of Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico (CUValles), are working with the IEEE Computer Society (CS) on initiatives that are making significant strides in empowering young women to pursue STEM careers.

For instance, on March 8, 2024, with the support of a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Fund Grant from IEEE CS, “Journeys: Teenage Women Facing Science and Engineering,” was held to introduce young women to the variety of STEM education and job opportunities available to them at Centro Universitario de los Valles de la Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico.


Breaking down barriers

One of the crucial steps towards encouraging women to pursue STEM careers in Mexico has been improving access to quality educational programs that can spark interest and foster talent in STEM fields among young girls.

Although women in the Valles, Lagunas, and Sierra Occidente regions understand that there are a variety of study options, they need encouragement to consider fields such as engineering, says project manager Rodolfo Omar Domínguez García of the Centro Universitario de los Valles de la Universidad de Guadalajara.

“Our goal was for young women to learn more about STEM careers and the programs and facilities CUValles offers,” says Domínguez. “After the event, many participants changed their minds about not being able to imagine themselves in a STEM career, which was nice to see. We hope to offer future events where women can further explore the many options that engineering careers offer.”



More than 200 young women participated in the Journeys event—170 young female students from various high schools, eight mentors, 25 student volunteers, and five leadership team members—which shared more information about fields including computers, electronics, mechanics, and chemistry.

During the event, workshops in multiple areas throughout STEM took place, including:

  • Webpage design
  • App development
  • Computer drawing
  • Learning with Arduino
  • Programming with
  • Virtual reality
  • Automatic wood carving
  • Actuators
  • Electronic measurements
  • Experiments with chemistry
  • Orthomosaics with drones

A crucial part of the event centered on highlighting CUValles as a good place to study. Domínguez shared that key factors include the convenience of the university’s location to the Valles, Lagunas, and Sierra Oeste regions and the free transportation to classes provided to students. As CUValles is a public university, students pay about $55 per semester.

By breaking down financial barriers and providing guidance from trained professionals, these initiatives have helped young women excel academically and pursue STEM options. In addition, as more students seek engineering degrees, the university has been increasing its faculty, including hiring more full-time professors with doctorates and integrating members of the national system of researchers into their teaching staff. “The University of Guadalajara has an excellent prestige at the national level, so there are students from all over the country,” adds Domínguez.


Next steps

By all accounts, the Journeys program was a success—and one Domínguez would like to continue. Future changes to the Journeys program might include modifying next year’s workshops based on the popularity of this year’s, creating activities for the teachers who accompany the students, and offering prizes, such as tablets, to encourage participation. Hopefully, additional financial resources can make this happen for subsequent events, says Domínguez.

“This type of project has the importance of making more women, especially from the Valles, Lagunas, and Sierra Oeste regions of the State of Jalisco, aware of the existence of the University of Guadalajara, the careers that are offered there, as well as the need that the country has for more male and female engineers, and the opportunity that they have to apply their talents in these areas. They should feel like they have the same or greater capabilities than their male counterparts. By targeting high school students, this type of project impacts young women earlier in their decisions to pursue a STEM career,” he adds.

Learn more about IEEE CS’ mission to make computing more equitable and accessible, and the projects the Diversity and Inclusion Fund has supported.