BOISE -- Technology and high-tech industry have become increasingly important in the Treasure Valley, but as these fields grow, so does the gap between male and female engineers. According to a national report, women continue to lag behind men in getting engineering degrees
Ann Delaney, a student at Boise State University, says she found her calling to be an engineer on her own in college.
“I didn't really have a really really strong role model when I got to high school I had a number of teachers who had been engineers at one point and that influenced my decision somewhat," said Delaney
She says it wasn't until college where she discovered why she wanted to become an engineer. And, now at college, she's not surprised her classes have a much higher ratio of men to women. She thinks it's because many people, particularly women don't clearly understand what engineers do.
"You see procedurals, you see hospital shows, you don't really see a lot of like, oh I want to go home and watch that show about the engineers," said Delaney
Amy Moll, the interim Dean of the College of Engineering at BSU, she says not only are engineers in high demand, but female engineers are needed to diversify the historically male dominated field.
"If you think about the medical field and how overtime, it used to be that tests were only done on men, and --women might have very different results, that was realized as more women entered the medical profession,” said Dean Moll.
She says it's been a challenge to recruit more women to engineering.
"We need help getting more girls interested at the elementary school level, at the high school level interested," said Dean Moll.
That's what Dee Mooney with the Micron Foundation is trying to do. She says Micron's Chip Camp is intended to inspire boys and girls to feel passionate about technology and engineering.
"If we can get girls interested at this age with hands on experience and so they can see what possibilities are after high school,this is definitely a good place to start." said Mooney.
She says more men currently work at Micron but the company wants to diversify its workforce with more qualified female engineers. Delaney says she's looking forward to graduating in 2015 because she says most engineer students find jobs right after they finish college.
"I hope to be judged on my qualifications and not on my gender," said Ann Delaney.
Mooney says it hard to gage when and how many students through the CHIP program become engineers, since it started in 2000, but says Micron wants keep the program running to get kids excited about engineering.
Dean Moll, says, while the percentage of women majoring in engineering hasn't climbed past 20 percent since she was a student in the 80s, she says more women are now part of the faculty in college.