This is a sponsored post.

In honor of DiscoverE’s National Engineering Week’s “Girl Day,” we’re celebrating today’s emphasis on ensuring girls feel welcome and excited in the field of engineering. One program that is leading the way with middle-school-aged girls is the Future City Competition, which my family was lucky enough to attend for the second year in a row.

Here’s a bit more about Future City:

Future City is a national project-based experience for students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. You form a team through school or scouts and are tasked with imagining a future city that solves a particular problem. With an educator and engineer mentor as their guides, the students research and plan how to make a city that solves the year’s problem, whether it’s sustainable agriculture, green transportation, etc. The team must spend no more than $100 on a tabletop model to compete against other area schools. The winning team from each region is then invited to compete in nationals in Washington DC, where three members from each team represent their school and must impress judges with their model.

It was great to see how many teams were mixed gender or even all girls. That so many girls are interested in engineering at a young age is a good sign that we’re working toward gender equality in the hard sciences and engineering. The girls we met were excited about their models and were thrilled to be competing in a field that is still overwhelmingly male. Only 20% of undergraduate students majoring in engineering are women — an improvement over the abysmal percentages of the ’70s and ’80s — when less than 5% of engineers were women — but not exactly a representative percentage of the population.

Girls at Future City

DiscoverE believes in encouraging young girls to take a serious look at engineering and everything the field has to offer. If the Future City competition is any indication, there are plenty of girls in the U.S. open to engineering. They just need to be dedicated enough to stick with it through college and graduate school, or the professional will always be thought of as predominantly male. As the DiscoverE folks explain, there’s a budding engineer in every girl, just waiting to come out — so let’s #BringItOut. For more about Future City or the National Engineering Week campaign, click here.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of DiscoverE. The opinions and text are all mine.