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Grad student wins AAUW ‘Battle of the Plans’

April 25, 2013

KUTZTOWN, Pa. - Kutztown University graduate student Heather Krey, of Allentown, Pa., is the winner of the American Association of University Women's inaugural "Battle of the Plans: Engineer a Lesson" contest.

Krey, a former engineer for Mack Trucks, won the competition with her lesson plan "Fifth-Graders can be Industrial Engineers, Too! A Greeting Card Assembly Line" The winning plan, intended to introduce engineering to students in the fifth grade and above, creates opportunities to familiarize   them with careers in engineering at a critical point in their academic careers.

"It is essential to get girls interested in engineering when they're still choosing what to pursue," Krey explained. "Women are just as capable as men in STEM subjects, but they need more encouragement in order to boost their confidence levels. I created this lesson plan because I wanted to show young students that there are several different types of careers in engineering."

According to the AAUW, the current percentage of women pursuing a career in engineering is at a 15-year low.

Krey, who is pursuing a master's degree in teaching at KU, conducted a trial run of her lesson plan with Junior Girl Scout Troop 6370 in Allentown, Pa. During the planned activity, the girls created and assembled greeting cards with and without an assembly line and discussed the principles of industrial engineering, as well as potential future careers in the field.

"It was a huge success!" Krey exclaimed. "The troop was able to learn about engineering, and the girls were more successful in making the greeting cards after they implemented the assembly line. When I asked them what industrial engineers did, they were able to identify 'increase efficiency' as a goal. They also won $100 from the AAUW! As for me, I can't think of anywhere else I would rather be, than in a classroom."