The Boys and Girls Club teamed up with a group of engineers from Raytheon Thursday night to put young girls' science skills to the test and encourage their involvement in science fields.
About 70 girls worked in teams to build a shock-absorbing system out of index cards, tape, and straws, for two marshmallow astronauts affectionately named after Sally Ride and Mae Jemison, the first American woman and African-American woman to travel in space.
The project was for Girl Day, a program sponsored by Raytheon that is part of national Engineers Week aimed at getting young people engaged in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning.
Although women make up about half of the work force, their representation in science and technology fields is only about 14 percent, according to statistics from the National Science Foundation.
Engineers from Raytheon's Andover and Tewksbury offices volunteered on Thursday for Girl Day. Most said they did it because they want girls to have the same opportunities in STEM learning that they did.
"I wanted to feel like I did something meaningful for Engineers Week," said Stephanie Gonzalez, who works in circuit card assembly at Raytheon. "This felt better than just doing trivia or something. This way I can reach out and influence young girls to get interested in engineering."