March 11, 2020

Study program orientation: TryScience honored by Stifterverband

TryScience, the study program orientation program organized by the Gender Equality Office at the University of Stuttgart, is an innovative idea aimed at encouraging women to study a MINT study program. The program has now been awarded the “Best Practice” seal.

Sitting at a computer in the middle of the school holidays and developing an object for the 3D printer to print with the help of a CAD program? For Nalina Friedl and Gianna Kleiner, both pupils in the tenth grade at a high school in Leonberg, this is an investment in their future: “We decided to try the mechanical engineering workshop at TryScience, to see if a technical study program might be something for us. It came at just the right time, because we will soon have to decide which electives we want to take at school”, they explain.

Nalina Friedl and Gianna Kleiner are trying out mechanical engineering at TryScience.

In focus: increasing the number of female students

The main aim of the program is to increase the number of female students studying MINT study programs. “That’s why the program is mainly aimed at girls”, explains organizer Sigrid Eicken from the Gender Equality Office. “But TryScience is not exclusively for young women”, she states. “Most parts of the program are open to both young men and women. The hope is that this strategy will draw more young women to the events at the uni – and the plan is working”, says Eicken.

Numbers are increasing

For spring 2020, a total of 145 people signed up for the workshops at the University of Stuttgart, and 70 of these are young women. Almost all of the nine workshops on offer were fully booked. The Gender Equality Office has recorded increasing numbers of participants: in 2019, 19 events were held at the University of Stuttgart with a total of 521 people signing up, 250 of these were young women, 35 percent of participants have a foreign background. “The positive feedback from those attending the workshops and the impressive numbers have motivated us to continue working in this direction” sums up Eicken.

Participants at the mechanical engineering workshop at TryScience (c)
Participants at the mechanical engineering workshop at TryScience

TryScience is Best Practice

These positive developments have also been noticed by the Stifterverband, which has awarded TryScience its “Best practice” seal: the aim is to encourage more women to study MINT study programs and to support them all the way to graduation, and the Stifterverband is searching for ideas from universities on how to achieve this goal. From 46 applications, 3 projects proved themselves to be particularly innovative; TryScience is one of ten further projects that have been recognized as “Best Practices” that encourage women in MINT study programs.

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