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Ohio State Camp Inspires Girls To Pursue Engineering Careers

COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Although women comprise 48 percent of the workforce, they hold only 24 percent of STEM (science, engineering, technology and math) jobs, according to a U.S. Department of Commerce report. In engineering, that percentage drops to 13.4 percent.

The Ohio State University College of Engineering—a leader in promoting STEM education and career awareness to young women and men—aims to change those statistics by hosting "WiE GROW," a hands-on summer camp designed to inspire eighth-grade girls to pursue engineering in college and beyond. WiE is an acronym for the college's Women in Engineering Program, which hosts the camp.

Sponsored by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (NYSE:SMG), WiE GROW will bring together students from across Ohio, July 29 to August 2, to participate in fun science- and engineering-related activities.

"The middle school age is critical for women to make decisions about entering the engineering profession," said Shawna Fletcher, interim director of Women in Engineering at Ohio State. "Many times, girls outperform boys in math and science at that age, but too often their performance doesn't translate into pursuing STEM professions. WiE GROW instills confidence and teaches girls about the impact they can have as an engineer to help people and society."

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company has been a committed partner in WiE Grow since 2005, helping the College of Engineering fulfill its mission of increasing the number of women engineers.

"The WiE Grow program is a wonderful gateway for young women to explore their interest in science and engineering." said Dave Swihart, senior vice president, Global Research & Development and Sourcing, ScottsMiracle-Gro. "ScottsMiracle-Gro and The Ohio State University College of Engineering are proud of this partnership that is nurturing our future leaders in the sciences."

At Ohio State, enrollment of women engineering students has steadily increased from 13.4 percent in 2007 to 18.9 percent in 2012, due in part to College of Engineering summer programs like the WiE GROW camp.

As one component of the camp, students complete mini-projects related to a range of engineering fields, including agriculture, environmental and materials science. This year, participants will build planters to learn about the engineering design process, from mechanical and computer-aided drawing to hands-on building of the planters themselves. With help from ScottsMiracle-Gro professionals, participants will learn about the science of making soil. Upon completion, campers will deliver the planters to a local nursing home as part of their community service experience.

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