Inspire! Educational Video Collection
Engineering remains one of the undergraduate majors with the smallest percentage of women in the United States. The percentage of women engineers in the workplace is even smaller. Inspire! is a collection of three educational videos with an accompanying discussion guide that will empower middle school and early high school girls to overcome obstacles facing girls and women in STEM fields, such as a lack of confidence and discouragement from others.
Each video features inspiring, real stories told by accomplished women engineers that contextualize and examine hurdles that girls and young women may face in the engineering field and offer strategies to overcome those hurdles. As we hear these stories, we see trailblazing women engineers serving as mentors and role models for the next generation of girls, as they embrace the excitement of an engineering education within the context of a summer camp at Clarkson University, a nationally recognized technological university with locations in Potsdam, Schenectady and Beacon, New York.
The videos, and the accompanying discussion guide, acknowledge structural challenges while encouraging middle school and early high school girls (at a time when their interest and confidence in the STEM fields often decreases) to develop resilience and understand potential obstacles they may face during their education and careers. The result is uplifting, relatable, authentic educational content that offers meaningful strategies to eliminate barriers for girls and women to enter and persist in engineering and related fields.
Encourage! Leading Women Engineers Encourage the Next Generation
Leading women engineers encourage girls to do what they love, defy stereotypes, push through setbacks, and pursue engineering. (4:40 minutes)
Motivate! Motivational Messages from Accomplished Women Engineers
Accomplished women engineers inspire young women and give them advice about their future careers and lives. (3:39 minutes)
Educate! What is an Engineer? Perspectives of Trailblazing Women Engineers
Trailblazing women engineers explain what engineering is and debunk myths about the field. (3:55 minutes)
The Inspire! Award-Winning Documentary
Our short documentary (19:18 minutes), Trailblazers: The Untold Stories of Six Women Engineers, which received an Award of Merit in The Impact DOCS Awards Competition, would be appropriate to use with older high school students.
Trailblazers provides an overview of the project. It tells the stories of six trailblazing women engineers (the same women who are featured in the educational videos) as they share their experiences overcoming obstacles and paving the way for the next generation. We have not included discussion questions for Trailblazers but believe that the questions for the three short videos could be adapted for teachers, or student leaders, to use with our documentary.
About the Creators
Meet the Producer
Laura Ettinger is a Professor of History at Clarkson University, where she has been teaching since 1998. Originally from Baltimore, she received her A.B. from Vassar College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in American History from the University of Rochester.
Laura’s research and writings focus on the history of women, gender, and the medical, scientific, and technological professions in the United States. Her book, Nurse-Midwifery: The Birth of a New American Profession, was named an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice. She is a co-Principal Investigator on an ongoing National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant to create systemic changes to reduce bias and advance the careers of women STEM faculty.
The research project that led to this educational video series and documentary is funded by another National Science Foundation grant. Inspired by her teaching at a technological university, it focuses on trailblazing American women in engineering. Using her skills as an oral historian, Laura interviewed 47 women engineers who graduated from college in the 1970s.
Laura feels very grateful that these women were willing to share their stories with her. She believes in the power of their stories to inspire girls and young women to consider paths they might not have considered before and to feel less alone while doing so. Laura also believes that their stories will help us to understand how individual women in engineering have navigated the challenges they have encountered, and how institutions might work to address those challenges.
Meet the Director
Zac Miller began his career in 2005 getting his hands dirty on independent feature films in Boston. Since then Zac moved to LA and worked on Television shows, films, commercials, corporate videos, and web content for clients like CBS, ABC, 21st Century FOX, National Geographic, Diet Pepsi, HGTV, MTV and WGBH. He’s produced educational content for Harvard Medical School, The National Science Foundation and The US Department of Transportation.
In 2017 Zac quit his position as the production manager on CBS’s Big Brother and opened an independent production company called Uncommon Image Studios. He shoots high end content for diverse clients from local businesses to national brands. Zac also teaches video production at Clarkson University in New York State.
Zac’s won national awards for screenwriting, advertising, and directing. He used to be a proud IATSE union member (local 481) and is a current member of the Producer’s Guild of America.