According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, the number of women pursuing degrees in STEM and careers in STEM lags behind men even though the percent of high school girls interested in STEM has caught up to boys. The Educators Practice Guide of Strategies for Postsecondary Students in Developmental Education recommends strong mentorship programs as a way to encourage and support young women in STEM. The STEM Education Primer recommends broadening the opportunities for participation of women in STEM.
At 34%, the percent of women enrolled in the Viterbi School of Engineering is nearly twice the national average of 18%. In the fall 2016 class, the number of women in the freshman class was 39%. However, with the goal of increasing the percent of women enrolled in engineering to 50%, the Dean of the school has empowered the Viterbi STEM Educational Outreach Programs to intentionally and actively increase the number of K-12 girls in our programs. To that end, we added two all-girls schools, New Village Girls Academy and the Girls Academic Leadership Academy to our Viterbi STEM Schools Partnership. We are also actively recruiting girls to participate in the STEM Center for Innovation and Excellence, a STEM Entrepreneurship program tailored for nontraditional students and students underrepresented in the STEM fields. We partner with two USC Student Organizations, the Society of Women Engineers and RoboGals to support girls interested in STEM in our various programs.