By Aeriel Murphy
Picture this, seven females engineers for the University of Michigan hop on a plane to host a 2 week camp for female Liberian engineering students in Monrovia, Liberia. On August 13, 2016 that’s exactly what happened. The camp, called Setting Up Collegiate for Careers in Engineering through Social Support (SUCCESS), is a joint venture between the University of Michigan Society of Women Engineers (UM-SWE) and the Liberia Society of Women Engineers (L-SWE).
The people of Liberia have lived through many devastating crisis, from civil wars to the Ebola outbreak and the women have had it the worst. Most of these young women are the only females in their departments and/or classes. Professor’s fail them for w/o reason and some have been asked to give sexual favors in return for passing grades. Even though women in America experience similar obstacles there are laws, policies, and support systems that protect us, but unfortunately this is not the same for these women.
The goals of this leadership camp are two-fold (i) to empower the Liberian and US women engineers with the skills, support, and inspiration necessary to becoming successful and well rounded engineering professionals; and (ii) to strengthen the community of female engineers in Liberia by building cross-cultural partnerships among female engineering students resulting in a global network of women engineers. This camp is the second iteration of what will be an annual event for the following three years.