AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — A love for using her hands and building things led Joyrenee Mason to pursue a career in mechanical engineering.

“So that sparked my interest in the STEM field,” the Augusta Technical College student said.

She’s entering a field that school officials said includes very few women.

A $1.6 million in grant funding awarded to Augusta Technical College is aimed at recruiting more women into engineering.

“We want to ensure that the field is very diverse, and we have a pipeline for all of our students, but particularly women because women have been underrepresented in this particular field,” said Augusta Technical College provost Dr. Melissa Frank-Alston.

Over the course of five years, the funding will construct a virtual and augmented reality learning lab and create outreach programs for middle and high school students to encourage them to pursue engineering as a career.

“We want to incorporate the field of engineering technology at very young ages. We are looking to see who is out there. Who wants to just be exposed to the field of engineering technology,” Alston said.

For Mason, the grant program also gives her a chance to provide representation for Black women in a field that she said has seen a lack of diversity.

“As an African American woman, it gives us an opportunity. Not just me as a woman, but as African Americans in general. It gives us an opportunity to be seen and to be heard,” Mason said.