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Dr. karen Panetta
The Origin of the Nerd Girls


Karen Panetta is the Original Nerd Girl and is the Creator of the Nerd Girls Concept. She is a computer and electrical engineer with degrees from Boston University and Northeastern University. After years of hearing, "You don't look like an engineer" or statements like, "If you're a female engineer, how come you don't have a mustache?", she realized that the stigma of gross and socially unkempt engineers needed to be attacked. She also realized that most people have no clue what engineers really do, often times hearing that they "fix things" rather than hearing "they are inventors solving real world problems". The Nerd Girl concept is bold and straightforward. If more students and parents understood what engineering was and how cool engineers really are, then more students would pursue this lucrative and exciting career path. This requires that those individuals who demand a scholarly approach for outreach get their head out of the sand and understand that the media has a huge impact on our youth. Notice the Nerd Girl approach doesn't require millions of research dollars to find out why girls brains are different from the boys. The team works on real world projects that have a positive impact on communities, people and the environment. They interact with engineers and professionals from every discipline and serve as role models for younger generations. Nerd Girls are normal students that other kids can relate too. They like the same things, shopping, dancing, sports, music, socializing, writing, acting, drawing and instant messaging like all their peers. What sets the Nerd Girls apart is that they aren't afraid to show their personal characteristics that make them who they are. They are smart and talented, cool and hip.

Armed with industry experience and a dislike for snoot faced individuals, Karen became a Professor so she could help students stay in engineering. She was surprised that the number of women students she had in her classes were far less than she had when she was a student herself. When more and more boys lined up outside her office making statements that their female engineering peers were surprisingly "too cool" and "to pretty to be engineers", Karen decided to put together the Nerd Girl curriculum program at her institution to show the scholarly disbelievers that the concept would indeed change not only male attitudes about women engineers, but would change young women's perceptions about their own abilities.

To date, Karen's Nerd Girls have conducted outreach to over 10,000 students. Now, it is time to introduce the world to the Nerd Girls and the exciting world of engineering.
We are proud to introduce the Nerd Girls!