Introducing ProGRES: Promoting Girls in Research on Engineering and Sustainability

Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Dr. Amy Hsiao and the six girls in the inaugural ProGRES group

The School of Sustainable Design Engineering at UPEI has launched a summer program to promote interest in engineering research with girls in high school. Dr. Amy Hsiao, associate professor at the SSDE, was awarded a grant from UPEI’s Annual Fund to develop Promoting Girls in Research on Engineering and Sustainability, or ProGRES.

Research has shown that direction interaction with professional women is the most significant factor in encouraging young women to pursue studies in under-represented areas, such as engineering. ProGRES will offer these young women a firm foundation of mentorship and professionalism as they pursue a future in engineering. Thirty-two girls applied for the six spots in this inaugural year.

“Students are concerned with ‘living green’, ‘caring about our world’, and ‘making a difference,’” said Dr. Hsiao. “The emphasis on bioresources, sustainable energy systems, mechatronics, and robotics at the School of Sustainable Design Engineering are all appealing for young women.” 

After two weeks in the program, student Katia Hughes said, “I am currently doing general research on wind turbine blade failure and leading-edge erosion. We were also introduced to Onshape this week, and although I am very new to the program, I hope to design something cool and useful, and hopefully develop some basic design skills. I look forward to what the following weeks hold!”

The program will come to an end with a final presentation August 17, during which all participants will be encouraged to share their ProGRES experience with friends and classmates, highlighting the countless opportunities for young women in engineering.

The School of Sustainable Design Engineering at UPEI offers a progressive and innovative four-year Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Design Engineering degree, which recognizes the need for a broad and balanced engineering education. Our unique engineering education program is organized as an innovation-focused engineering consulting firm. Faculty and staff act as senior engineers, consultants, and mentors to project groups working on real-world problems for community-based and industrial clients.

The University of Prince Edward Island prides itself on people, excellence, and impact and is committed to assisting students reach their full potential in both the classroom and community. With roots stemming from two founding institutions—Prince of Wales College and Saint Dunstan’s University—UPEI has a reputation for academic excellence, research innovation, and creating positive impacts locally, nationally, and internationally. UPEI is the only degree granting institution in the province and is proud to be a key contributor to the growth and prosperity of Prince Edward Island. UPEI is located on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People.

Dave Atkinson
Research Communications Officer
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