GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Sparking new interest in engineering with a twist is the goal of an effort led by Mississippi Power Wednesday in Gulfport.
The banners lining the room at Gulfport High School during Engineering Week tout a positive catchphrase: "I Can". It's a phrase organizers with Mississippi Power hope will inspire girls to look into a career in engineering.
"I think there's such a stereotype about what an engineer is and what an engineer does," said student Julia Odenthal.
The 10th graders were presented with all different facets of the world of engineering in hopes that something might strike their interest.
"Kind of push them towards engineering if they've never thought about it before," said Mississippi Power engineer, Genetrice Stevenson.
Beyond simply introducing them to the different types of engineering, the day was designed to show the ladies what the future could hold.
"Engineering is an opportunity, and it's not just for the males out there," said Ann Holland with Mississippi Power.
The high schoolers worked their way through several stations designing K'NEX cars, building circuits, and evening fashioning a shoe. For Thicat Vu, the experience verified her line of thinking.
"There are so many different perspectives that men and women have on things," said Vu. "If women were to be in the field, they would bring another element to everything. They would make it more rounded for everybody."
The different stations explored civil, electrical, mechanical, and chemical engineering. The girls left the workshop feeling empowered.
"I think it's important to show women that they can be equal in every field," said student, Emily Musgrove.
The "I Can" initiative was started by Alabama Power and now holds events for hundreds of students in south Mississippi.