“Technological fields will be unable to find enough workers in the U.S. without girls completing high-tech degree programs.”

- Land of Plenty: Diversity as America's Competitive Edge in Science, Engineering and Technology. Congressional Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering, and Technology Development, 2000.

Career Connections

Emerging Technologies Industry and Employment Information

Employment Figures of Women in STEM-related Occupations, excerpted from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women in the Labor Force: A Databook. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2005.

Optics: Light at Work Video—Free video from SPIE, an international society advancing an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light. This is a great tool for the classroom that provides students with real world applications of optics technology—remote controls, cell phones, bar code scanners, and computers—things they use in their daily lives, as well as, examples of “cool” new technology such as nanomedicine, space telescopes, invisibility, and solar energy:

What is Optics/Photonics? Definitions from Hands-on Optics: Making Impact with Light, an inquiry-based informal science education program for students who have traditionally been under-represented in the field of optics and photonics:

State Resources

Adobe Acrobat File (March 2008) containing website links to state Tech Prep, Career Pathways, and/or Career and Technical Education websites which offer valuable career planning resources.

Learning Activities

Climbing the Ladder to Nontraditional Careers and Gender Equity: Learning Activities from the Illinois Office of Educational Services. For use with a variety of audiences—from middle school to pre-service teachers:

A celebration of women in engineering with contests and career exploration

Optics for Teens
A fun site from the Optical Society of America (OSA)

Patterns in Nature: Light and Optics Activities—Classroom activities in light and optics from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Arizona State University:

Tower O’ Power— From the TeachEngineering website, hosted on the National Science Digital Library. In this activity, students use computer-aided design (CAD) software to design a tower and then manufacture the parts with a laser cutter. The goal is to determine the tower design with the best strength:weight ratio and also to investigate basic structural truss concepts and stress concentrations. Partnership with a local college or manufacturing center is necessary for the completion of this project.

College Programs

Program and course descriptions from Camden County College’s Laser/Electro-Optics Technology AAS Degree

Program and course descriptions from Moraine Valley Community College’s IT Data Assurance and Security Specialist AAS Degree as well as course descriptions from Moraine’s NSF Regional Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance []