Leadership Institute Shares Success Secrets with High School Girls

By Jillian Schwab | Published

More and more women are coming to Michigan Technological University to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.  But turning an interest in STEM into a leadership role in college and the career that follows takes more than interest and good grades.

That’s why Michigan Tech invited more than 600 female high school juniors from across the nation to a Leadership Institute at the University May 10-11, 2012. The Leadership Institute is a new program designed to help female high school students prepare for success in STEM studies and careers.  So far, 25 young women, representing Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois, have applied to participate.

“We want to help you utilize your passions, stretch your abilities, and prepare yourself to create the future,” said Allison Carter, director of admissions, in an invitation to participate.

“We’re really interested in recruiting women who are thinking about STEM fields, and we wanted to connect with them in more ways than just campus tours and phone calls,” Carter explained. “A lot of women on campus get involved in leadership activities, so we thought leadership would be a good way to connect with prospective students.”

High school juniors who had expressed interest in Tech and STEM majors were invited to the program or were referred by guidance counselors and admissions recruiters. “They‘re all really smart,” Carter noted.  “Most of them have a GPA of 3.9 or higher.”

The Institute kicks off Thursday, May 10, with a night of social activities and the creation of journals to describe each young woman’s education and career-related aspirations.  Participants will spend the night in Wadsworth Hall. On Friday, May 11, they will be mentored by current female Tech students and attend interactive programs that will help them develop their leadership skills and life goals, understand themselves as leaders by identifying strengths, weaknesses and values, engage in self-discovery to help them choose a school and major that’s right for them, attend a math classroom demonstration and learn about opportunities for campus involvement.  

“The University's goal  is to increase female enrollment to 35% by 2020, so it’s important to engage female students interested in STEM fields and help them find a college campus where they feel comfortable,” says Carter. “We think the Leadership Institute is a great way to get prospective female undergraduate students excited about Tech’s academics, lifestyle and outcomes.

While the girls are learning the ABCs of leadership and success, information sessions will also be offered for the families of participants.

There is a scholarship incentive too. If a participant enrolls at Tech as a full-time student, she will receive a $1,000 scholarship applied to her first year’s tuition. The scholarship is funded by donors, as is the Leadership Institute.

The Admissions Office is planning to host another Leadership Institute for female high school seniors just before fall Open House in October.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.