Math and Science: Not Just for Boys Anymore; Museum of Nature & Science and IBM Host Engineers Week

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Local celebration of National Engineers Week to explore science and technology careers; particular focus on girls to study math and science.

National Engineers Week celebrates women in technology this year. Hosted locally by the Museum of Nature & Science and sponsor IBM Feb. 17-20, schoolchildren will participate in fun activities highlighting technology and get information about science and technology careers. Plus, IBM will reach out to girls with information about the exciting, cutting-edge careers available for young women who study math and science on Feb. 19 which is "Women in Engineering" Day.

Among the hands-on engineering activities scattered throughout the museum, are two games. "The Forbidden City: Beyond Space and Time" is a virtual online recreation of China's Forbidden City. It is the first complete virtual world created for a major historical and cultural attraction. Kids can take tours and interact with people as if they were there.

"Power Up" is a "green" 3D multi-player energy-themed virtual world. Developed with input from nearly 200 kids and teens, the object of the game is to generate clean energy - while racing to save the planet from ecological disaster. Children solve challenges in three major areas - water, solar and wind.

IBM uses the technology behind these games to teach and excite kids about engineering, math, science, technology and problem-solving. The company will also provide information to students about careers in engineering and hopes to inspire them to study math and science. On Feb. 19, women engineers from IBM will give special presentations to the girls visiting the museum on their careers and how math and science studies can help girls achieve their dreams.

There's good reason to urge students to consider these fields. A National Science Foundation study shows that between the years 2000 and 2010, employment in science and engineering fields will increase at more than three times the rate for all other occupations. However, simultaneous with predictions of a growing scientific workforce is data reporting a decline in the number of students seeking degrees in some of these fields.

And women are especially underrepresented in science and engineering careers. While more women than men pursue college degrees, more than five times as many men earn engineering bachelor's degrees. Also, recent undergraduate engineering enrollment data shows that the percentage of women earning bachelor's degrees may be decreasing in the near future.

"Headlines about the shortage of engineers, scientists, and - most recently - math and science teachers in North Texas, make it even more crucial that we find ways to inspire and support the next generation," said Nicole Small, CEO of the Museum of Nature & Science. "Even though women have made great strides in engineering professions, there is still vast disparity between the sexes in terms of numbers. IBM's continuing support of Engineers Week is one way we help fulfill our commitment to Metroplex students and encourage girls to pursue the sciences."

About the Museum of Nature & Science
The Museum of Nature & Science, formerly the Dallas Museum of Natural History, The Science Place and the Dallas Children's Museum, is a non-profit educational organization located in Dallas' Fair Park. In support of its mission to inspire minds through nature and science, MNS delivers exciting, engaging and innovative visitor experiences through its education, exhibition and research and collections programming for students, teachers, families and life-long learners. The MNS campus includes the TI Founders IMAX® Theater and a cutting-edge digital planetarium. The museum is supported in part by funds from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, the Texas Commission on the Arts and EDS. To learn more visit http://www.natureandscience.org.

About IBM
For more information about IBM, please visit http://www.ibm.com.

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Cynthia Stine
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