How To Use the Toolkit
Effective Use of the Film
Schools and Nonprofits
a project of Media Working Group
Creating support networks for high school, community college and university
students who are pursuing STEM courses of study
Because the experience of college is one of its dominant themes, The
Gender Chip Project is a rich resource for college and community
college students who are pursuing STEM. It may also be used with high
school students, provided an adult is present to guide discussion and
provide supplementary information. Suggestions for using the film with
young women include:
- Host a lunch-time or after-school screening to recruit girls to STEM
courses. Discuss reasons why girls choose to enroll or not to enroll
in science, math and computer science classes. Ask the girls
what they would need to stay on a STEM academic track. Share information
about course offerings, extracurricular activities and field trips,
- Show the film in a classroom with both girls and boys to set the
stage for discussion on topics such as gender, achievement, career
and family. (See study guide and classroom
community college and university
- Organize a screening and discussion to provide support for young
women in STEM majors. Select a strong facilitator who will allow attendees
to share both triumphs and challenges they have experienced along their
- Show The Gender Chip Project at intergenerational potluck
dinners or brown-bag lunches for female undergraduates, graduate students
and faculty. Discuss the challenges young women of today face in comparison
to those of 10, 20 or 30 years ago.
- Host screenings in student residences for young women who are considering
majoring in STEM fields. Invite upperclasswomen to speak about their
experiences in the university’s STEM departments, their professional
or academic aspirations, summer jobs, etc.
- Screen the film with community college students and discuss their
impressions of college life at Ohio State. Inform students about the
requirements for transferring to a four-year university, the benefits
of a Bachelor’s degree and career options for graduates of both
two- and four-year institutions.
- The Gender Chip Project includes lots of footage of girls
and women actively engaged in STEM. How did these images affect your
experience of watching the film? Can you think of examples of other
media (films, books, magazines, etc.) that positively portray women
as scientists, engineers or computer programmers?
- The young women in the film speak about experiences early on that
either helped or hindered their pursuit of science and other technical
fields. What childhood experiences – positive or negative – had
an influence on your desire to pursue STEM?
- What was your impression of Jennifer’s decision to leave Ohio
State? Why do you think she left? One of Jennifer’s parting statements
is “I’m tired of trying to fit in.” Describe an experience
when you felt like an outsider. What did you learn from this experience?
- Which of the women in the film (including the professors) did you
identify with the most? Which of them seemed the most different to
During the course of the film, the young women share a range of goals
and dreams for the future. Erin says, “I’d like to make
a big contribution, like, ‘Yeah, that was made by Erin!’” Amanda
says, “I want to make a lasting, positive impact on the people
around me.” What are your hopes for the future? What priorities
will factor into your choice of a career?
- What changes would you recommend to make your school or college a
more supportive place for women in STEM? How is your school or college
already providing support to its female students and faculty?
- American Indian Science
and Engineering Society
Promotes excellence, leadership and opportunities in education and professional
development for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Offers financial, academic
and cultural support to students from middle school through graduate school.
- College Board
One-stop shopping for college: information on college prep classes and entrance
exams, choosing a college, financial aid and scholarship resources and
- Engineers Without
Humanitarian organization established to partner with developing communities
worldwide in order to improve their quality of life. EWB has over 80 student
- The Gender Chip Project
Online community for women and girls interested in technology and computing.
Website contains career advice, profiles of accomplished women (including
young women) and business tips.
Award-winning e-mentoring network targeting women and other underrepresented
groups in STEM. Offers one-on-one mentoring to community college, undergraduate
and graduate students.
- NACME (National
Action Council for Minorities in Engineering)
Scholarships and resources for African American, American Indian and Latino
women and men students at the pre-college, undergraduate and graduate levels.
- The National Society
of Black Engineers, Inc.
Works to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who
excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.
Offers collegiate and pre-college programs.
- Society of Hispanic
Works to enhance and achieve the potential of Hispanics in engineering, math
and science. SHPE’s Advancing Hispanic Excellence in Technology, Engineering,
Math and Science (AHETEMS) Foundation offers college scholarships and K-12
- Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
Educational and service organization with numerous opportunities for young
women pursuing STEM such as scholarships, student chapters and career resources.
Ending your session by creating a set of actions or next steps is a
good way to ensure that the conversation doesn’t end there. For
young women who want to continue the conversation or institutionalize
support, here are some suggestions:
- At your high school, organize a Girls’ Computer (or Math or
Science) Club. Invite a supportive teacher to serve as your advisor.
Organize field trips to local companies, science and technology museums,
sites of engineering projects, etc.
- Organize a school-wide science day in which students compete in
fun activities (e.g., an egg-drop from the top of the gym building).
Make sure that girls are part of the leadership of the fair and aim
for 50% of the participants to be girls.
- At your college, establish a chapter of the Society of Women Engineers,
Society of Black Engineers or other national organization. Set monthly
meetings at which prominent faculty or other professional women from
your area speak about their careers, how they got there, challenges,
- At your college, set up meetings with faculty and administrators
to discuss challenges to women students in STEM majors. Ask for students
to serve as representatives on departmental or curricular committees.
- Establish a mentorship program that pairs a) high school students
with college students who are majoring in STEM; b) first- and second-year
college students with third- and fourth-years; c) high school or college
students with professional women from the university or local community.