By WRAL Tech Wire STEM News

RALEIGH, N.C. – Wouldn’t it be cool if …

More than 40 girls from the Raleigh Girls Club will take a stab at inventing the next big thing we can’t live without by participating in Time Warner Cable’s Wouldn’t It Be Cool If… campaign, a new initiative announced two weeks ago during the 2012 White House Science Fair.

A key goal of the program is to ensure students are engaged and interested in science, technology, engineering, and math [STEM] subjects, by challenging youth to dream up the coolest thing to make their life, community, or even the world more awesome – and, to think about how STEM could help bring those ideas to life.

Raleigh Girls Club members will participate in a 90-minute program today (Wednesday, Feb. 29) at 3:30 p.m. led by Dr. Laura Bottomley, director of Women in Engineering and K-12 Outreach at N.C. State University’s College of Engineering.

Dr. Bottomley will talk about the creative process behind inventing, why our nation needs more girls in engineering fields, and help the girls with their invention ideas.

“Wouldn’t it Be Cool If… can show young people, especially girls, that STEM skills, particularly engineering, is how we turn ideas into reality,” said Bottomley. “Right now when engineers and engineering skills are so critical, we have fewer women entering engineering schools than we did 10 years ago, and the drop is especially troubling among African-American women.”

According to the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology, women make up just a small percentage of working engineers. For example, they are just 6 percent of mechanical engineers and 7 percent of all electrical engineers. In contrast, women account for 24 percent of chief executive officers, 30 percent of lawyers, and 32 percent of physicians and surgeons.

This campaign is jointly presented by Time Warner Cable’s philanthropic STEM initiative, Connect a Million Minds, and i.am FIRST, which is founded by artist, entertainer and entrepreneur will.i.am.

“Science and math fuel the inventions and advancements that are rapidly transforming our world, and are essential skills for tomorrow’s innovators, scientists and programmers,” said will.i.am, who also was named Intel’s Director of Creative Innovation last month. “I’ve met a lot of kids who are using math and science to do amazing things, but we need more kids to understand the power of these subjects to change their lives, to change the world.“

The contest challenges kids in two age categories (10-12 and 13-15) and is open now through March 28 by visiting www.wouldntitbecoolif.com. Ideas can be submitted by individuals or teams of two or three people.

The Raleigh Girls Club is located 701 N. Raleigh Blvd.

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