Workshop Toolkit

Filmmaker's Note

How To Use the Toolkit

Effective Use of the Film

Schools and Nonprofits

Young Women




Action Toolkit

Workshop Toolkit
Evaluation Tools

a project of Media Working Group


Workshop Toolkit

young women


Creating support networks for high school, community college and university students who are pursuing STEM courses of study


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co-ed conversations
Try using The Gender Chip Project with a co-ed group. It’s important for boys and young men to think critically about gender: women and men both benefit from two-way respect and support of each other’s work and talents. In addition, boys and men of color are underrepresented in STEM and face many of the same challenges and barriers as girls and women of all races and ethnicities.

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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:


high school
  • 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, careers, etc.
  • 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 curriculum.)
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 STEM path.
  • 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.
discussion questions
  • 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 you?
  • . . . .

    did you know?
    Number of women receiving science and engineering degrees5

    1966: 50,000
    2001: 200,000

    . . .
    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?
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  • 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 more.
  • Engineers Without Borders
    Humanitarian organization established to partner with developing communities worldwide in order to improve their quality of life. EWB has over 80 student chapters.
  • The Gender Chip Project
  • GirlGeeks
    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.
  • MentorNet
    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 Professional Engineers
    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 programs.
  • 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.
action steps

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, etc.
  • 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.
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